Without having any appointment, Louisa Mwenda (Kenya, left) and Isabela Mkude (Tanzania, right) met in the vicinity of the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Enevironment Asembly (UNEA-3) in Nairobi, both are alumni of the “68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Waster Resource Management and Health” – sustainability thinking connects!
Just when I thought my year was exciting already, I was accepted into the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Water Resource Management and Health. Dresden is a beautiful city full of details to admire. It’s a very clean and quite place, rich in history and culture. It´s very comforting to walk the Altstadt, from the Semper Opera House crossing to the Procession of Princes and arriving into the Frauenkirche. And sometimes you get surprised by a white shiny piano in the middle of the square accompanying a lady singing opera. Dresden being full of green areas has a great transportation system that invites you to any of its museums. The Hygiene Museum is a very curious place, don´t be skeptical about it, try it! Although Germans are very autonomous people they are very friendly and helpers with a good sense of humor. Many times they rescue me in the supermarket trying to get regular sugar or milk. Punctuality is one of their best qualities, so don’t be late in here!
street music in the Altstadt
going by tram in Dresden
This course was a tight schedule well handled by the CIPSEM staff to deliver water knowledge from all possible angles. Through lectures and excursions we learned about global water issues, types of treatments, bio-indicators and much more. We visit dams, reservoirs, treatment plants, a pilot project of greywater recycling (impressive!), research centers and institutes for drinking water, wastewater and underground water. Personally I learned new topics: antibiotics residual and sustainable sanitation. One of the best lectures were Andre’s classes, in which he gave us bridges to cross and doors to open for never stopping to learn. CIPSEM was also the passage to meet foreign friends. I know we all miss the companionship and the amity will be for a lifetime. The different personalities, cultures and traditions made it fun. We never stop learning from each other, even now that we are separate.
at the Saidenbach dam with Dr. Paul
Combined greywater-recycling and urban (fish-)farming in Berlin
I was very happy to accomplish my targets in this course, especially in expanding my world view. And as Dr. Paul said at the Saidenbach Dam: “We are so different but united in this course, why don’t our countries behave the same?”
On 15th September 2016, the participants of the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Water Resources Management and Health set out for the ecological station in Neunzehnhain. Along the way from Dresden to the station, I observed that land is mainly characterized as large farms, and as we approached Neunzehnhain, the area becomes hilly and forests are abundant! When we arrived at the station, we were welcomed with breath taking views of the dam with an amazing forest backdrop (I shared the above picture with my friends back home and two suggested that area looks like a good “honeymoon” location!).
We were lucky to have a chance to get in deep within the dam, 30 meters deep to be precise, where we experienced a cool 6 degrees! Unfortunately for security reasons, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the dam. When we were done with the dam, we headed back to our new “home” to settle and rest… or preferably described as catching up! At the center there is no mobile network coverage and also no wifi, which I think worked okay as it promoted group dynamics and the participants bonded more with each other, discussing various cultural differences majorly on song and dance! The area is tranquil and serene, which is good for relaxing! Dr. Paul welcomed us heartily, such a charming man he is, and an expert too in water! We had a tantalizing meal with fresh fish (my favorite!) among other varieties. We also learned that one of the participants is a talented pianist and he entertained us with one piece before we left for bed. The next morning we had an interactive session on microbiology and we had the chance to actually be hands-on at the lab, which was exciting and very interesting especially to see some of the micro-organisms in the water samples. At about midday, we then set off to the Ore Mountains, at a restaurant where we had lunch facilitated by CIPSEM; and after we proceeded to other dams within the area, guided by Dr. Paul, for another session on water reservoirs before we left for Dresden.
The Dam at Neunzehnhain
Dr. Paul explaining to the participants about water reservoirs
The group left Dresden upstream the river Elbe to Pirna, as there is a TU Dresden outpost of the hydro-sciences department to visit the Junior Research Group INOWAS. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and runs until 2018. The research group around our host Dr. Catalin Stefan aims at providing stakeholders with a scientifically based decision support system for planning, design and management of applications in the water sector. The focus lies on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the managed groundwater reservoirs by means of scenario analysis, prognosis and risk assessment and with regard to the influencing climatic factors. More information on the research can be found on their website: https://tu-dresden.de/bu/umwelt/hydro/inowas
13 September, we had the next interesting excursion to Waterworks Tolkewitz, which was built about one hundred years ago. It is placed on the left bank of the Elbe River and uses the river water as a source for producing drinking water. At the plant we were welcomed by the former head of the Water works Tolkewitz, a very kind and experienced man. During the following hour he explained the formation and development of the drinking water supply system of Dresden. After that, we visited the drinking water treatment area. The pipe system is completely isolated from the external environment to make sure that the water will always meet all standards and norms. It was a system worth learning. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. André Lindner for his translation work during the whole excursion.
Their first excursion brought the SC68 group to the wastewater treatment plant in Kaditz. The warm and sunny weather outside set the scene for a pleasant excursion. The downside? You can smell it in the deep of the sewage system. But the expert knowledge of Mr. Lucke more than compensated. He guided the participants through the plant while explaining all the different steps of wastewater treatment from first to last.
After the summer break the new CIPSEM course year 2016/2017 finally started. We’re happy to welcome the scholarship holders of the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB Short course. We’re looking forward to the next three weeks with our guests from Samoa, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, St. Lucia, Burkina Faso. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Jordan, Pakistan, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.