Zagreb, October 22, 2019 – Organized by the Water Agency from Slovenia, the 5th international conference entitled “Water for Tomorrow“ took place on October 11 and 12 and was thematically focused on educational activities in the water sector aimed at youth. There was a presentation of the projects FRISCO1, FRISCO2.1. FRISCO2.2. and FRISCO2.3. as well as the educational computer game and quiz “How to Protect Ourselves from Floods – Learn and Play!“, including the demonstration models with examples of dangers and flood events that were conceived and produced as tools for both adults and children as part of the activities within the project FRISCO1.

The Conference programme comprised of the following thematic units: water management – projects, challenges and solutions, endangering of drinking water quality, wastewater recycling and reuse and water in the educational process. The expert lectures on individual thematic units were held during field visits, thus the conference participants had the opportunity to see the Zvir Source Complex in Rijeka, where the conference was opened by the welcome speeches of Andrej Marochini, director of the utility Vodovod i kanalizacija d.o.o. Rijeka, and Majda Adlešić, manager of the programme Društvo vodna agencija. In addition to further expert lectures by the participants from Slovenia, Hungary and Serbia, there was also a presentation of the project “Improvement of water utility infrastructure in the area of the Rijeka agglomeration “, valued at HRK 1.76 billion and financed with EU funds. The presentations and discussions were followed by a visit to the source Zvir and park Pomerio, which is built into permeable concrete. In the afternoon, the participants visited the tertiary wastewater treatment plant of the towns Karlovac and Duga Resa, cofinanced with EU funds. This was followed by a visit to the freshwater aquarium “Aquatika“ in Karlovac where expert lectures on the topic of endangering of drinking water quality and wastewater recycling and reuse were held by the participants from Israel, Slovenia, Serbia and Czech Republic.

The second day of the Conference took place in Rogaška Slatina, with expert lectures on the topic of water in the educational process by the participants from Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Serbia and Croatia. The presented projects FRISCO (FRISCO1, FRISCO 2.1, FRISCO2.2. and FRISCO 2.3.) had a special emphasis on the public awareness raising results achieved by the projects FRISCO1. The project was financed in the framework of the Slovenia – Croatia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme, INTERREG SLO-CRO 2014–2020, and focused on the development of non-structural measures for flood risk reduction in the transboundary basins of the Kolpa/Kupa, Sotla/Sutla, Drava, Mura, Dragonja and Bregana Rivers. The work packages within the project FRISCO1, RP T8 – WP T8 – Raising public awareness and WP C – Communication, comprised of numerous awareness raising activities both for the general public and youth, included twelve workshops for the public and primary school students in each country. The workshop for children, utilizing a specially developed computer game, an educational film and a knowledge quiz, was presented during the expert lectures and good practice demonstrations, when the participants had the opportunity to play the game and inspect the promotional materials for the project. The demonstration models, which were used in the education of both adults and children during the implementation of the project FRISCO1, were also presented. The children’s workshops were implemented as a well-devised combination of short introductory lectures on floods and self-protection, demonstration exercises on models with interactive student participation, independent problem-solving related to flood and flood protection through a computer game and a knowledge check in the form of an educational quiz. They fully achieved the project FRISCO1 awareness raising objective regarding flood risk reduction measures in six transboundary river basins. The interesting educational content developed through the project FRISCO1 continues to be used after the project’s completion in different occasions and at different events in Slovenia and Croatia, making children’s education and public awareness raising on flood risk reduction, non-structural measures and dangers of flood events a continuous process in both countries, beyond the river basins in which the project was implemented.

The 5th Conference, which assembled over fifty participants from the water sector, non-government organisations and educational institutions from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and Israel, ended with setting up a high water level mark, which was organized by Slovenian Environment Agency and Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning in cooperation with Municipality of Rogaška Slatina and I. primary school in Rogaška Slatina.

Photo: Robert Gajšek