Tunisian Eco Water projects, among 3 finalists of 6th International Solidarity FabLabs Challenge

A young, ambitious and innovative Tunisian team have achieved excellence through the Eco Water project, which optimizes the management of gray water through an innovative and unique system in Tunisia, based on natural materials and smart home automation. Nihel Sliti and Mohamed Amine Abdi, two youths in their twenties, are among the 13 finalists of the 6th International Solidarity FabLabs Challenge, organised by a private telephone operator under the theme of Water. Their Eco Water project won in the internet users' vote category, the "I make for my city Challenge" which targets households, alongside two other teams from Cameroon and Madagascar. The voting operation, which is still ongoing, will allow the public to choose one of the three projects presented by the three countries (Tunisia, Cameroon and Madagascar). The Eco Water project was selected from among 60 others presented by 24 countries, the project holders told TAP, announcing that they are preparing to participate in another competition "changeNOW," the largest event on solutions for the planet. The winning team of this international competition will be coached by the director of changeNOW, a real asset for their project and the 3 finalist teams will be present at the event. Eco Water, addressing water scarcity in Tunisia Nihel Sliti and Mohamed Amine Abdi pointed out that the idea of Eco Water project had been born from the constant shortage of water resources and the drought that Tunisia, like other countries, is suffering. This situation had prompted them to think about the reuse of grey water in households, as 36% of the water consumed at homes is used for waterproofing (a barrier against water infiltration) and 32% is used in showers, compared to only 1% for drinking water, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). This project is designed for Tunisian families who are suffering from a shortage of drinking water but also from soaring national water management costs. The two young students underlined the urgency of finding a quick and urgent solution to the problem of water scarcity, laying emphasis on the need to save water. The goal is to identify a solution, which will be as close to reality as possible, for households in a first step and for water consuming industrial sectors in a second step. "I make for my city challenge, which has chosen the theme of water for this year, has encouraged us to think about a practical solution that can be implemented quickly, instead of thinking about water desalination, which is a solution that is currently being proposed, but which remains expensive," said Nihel. Eco Water is environmentally friendly The idea for this project was born in February 2023, the two young students undertook to present an ecological solution using natural materials and preserving the environment and nature. It also seeks to reduce water consumption and preserve the country's water resources. This project can save about 60% of the water consumption bill and reduce the quantities consumed by about 60 litres, they explained, adding that each person consumes about 120 litres of water per day. Eco Water, an innovative and creative project The Eco Water project has not only presented a solution based on natural materials, it has innovated. It offers, according to the two young academics, an application to monitor water quality in real time and the status of the device by giving information if the filters need to be replaced. It also monitors water consumption. Eco Water, which is environment-friendly, has economic specificities, ensures the rationalisation of wastewater management through an innovative system that is unique in Tunisia, thanks to artificial intelligence. Water will be distributed via an information system that remotely controls water consumption in real time. The project consists in collecting gray water from showers, sinks and washing machines through an in-house filtration system using natural materials (sand, gravel, activated charcoal). "In order to preserve nature and water, we did not use chemicals and we resorted to a solution inspired by nature, because the filtration of water in nature goes through the same stages as the method we have adopted," explained Nihel Sliti. Abdi added that the choice of this method (water filtration) has been mainly adopted for ecological reasons, pointing out that the water filtered through this system is not intended for drinking or bathing, but for other uses in the house (irrigation or bathrooms). "The innovation of the project consists in monitoring the quality of the treated water, which (quality) determines the operation of the distribution of the same water for a given use. The most polluted water, for example, is used for flushing toilets that consume a lot of energy," he underlined. "In addition to monitoring the quality of the water, we are also able to monitor consumption and the savings that citizens can make by using this system," the young team said. The two young students asserted willingness to speed up the execution of their project by setting up a nursery either in Tunisia or elsewhere to house it, as this project requires funding and raw materials to get it off the ground and into the industrialisation and marketing phase. Editing by Ben D'haou Nejiba.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse