AQUACYCLE – My Autobiography – Undergoing an endurance test


(Editor’s note: to fully appreciate AQUACYCLE’s sentiments I would recommend to read this latest diary entry to the accompaniment of the music you can access through this link.)

It’s been quite a while since I put pen to paper. You will have been wondering what I have been up to since calling on my ENI CBC Med siblings to come to the rescue of a rather desperate-for-water call from a stakeholder in the Med on World Water Day on 22nd March 2021.

Making my physical appearance was never going to be an easy challenge, but to be perfectly honest, some unexpected hurdles did catch me off-guard.

In Spain, the award of tenders for two constructed wetlands and for a raceway pond reactor, which will further treat the effluent delivered by the existing anaerobic digester at the Blanca wastewater treatment facility, was obviously most encouraging news.

Alas, It turned out that the originally earmarked site for their construction proved to be of ecological interest, thus requiring a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) for an alternative site. And although the EIA for a new location was then accepted, an on-site inspection by the environmental authorities resulted in the requirement to transplant some of the trees from this site to an alternative location since a permit to cut the trees was not going to be granted.

Even if I could not but feel admiration that the authorities in Murcia do consider the protection of trees a serious matter – which rather unfortunately is not a given in each and every country of the Mediterranean Region, the transplanting of a tree does require time if it is to be carried out professionally. Just the other day I was seeing a highly professionally executed transplanting of four mature orange trees and one lemon tree of a local variety in Malta which was quite awesome to watch. It required a mini-excavator to be hauled over a garage into a back garden of a dwelling that is set to be demolished and is located a highly congested road.

But let me return to the subject of my much-awaited physical appearance. Also in Tunisia, the news of the launch just before World Water Day of the tender for a complete pilot demonstration replica of myself in a real environment was most encouraging. A one-month extension of the deadline for the submission of offers, i.e. until 19th May 2021, was of no immediate concern.

© Paul Bow, The Economist

Yet, I must admit that I was totally unprepared for the lengthy process to award the tender. I can only be grateful to my co-creators in Tunisia for their patience in dealing with the many due-diligence procedures - which you may call ‘red tape’ - they face in their day-to-day work.





Still, the award for practicing patience must surely go to my co-creators in Lebanon. A recent spectacular devaluation of the Lebanese pound obviously became a source of major concern. It only made perfect sense to delay the actual launch of the tender for my construction in Lebanon until a sound solution is found to deal with the currency crash.



Despite these challenging circumstances, the team at the Lebanese University kept pushing forward and deftly responded to their national procurement regulations by drawing up incredibly detailed specifications, including a bill of quantities which literally covers every tiniest piece of material that is meant to go into my, so much anticipated, physical appearance in Lebanon.