The second day of the meeting. It was a crispy morning but the weather forecast promised 33 degrees in the afternoon – pretty unusual even for the early autumn Vienna weather. We got to the area of WU – the Wien University of economics and business -to get introduced with the famous but still pretty unknown substance that made life possible on the earth.
As we got quite impressed with the architecture and the super-modern design of the WU campus, we took plenty of pictures of the exterior and the interior that we would rather see in sci-fi movies as space craft engineering halls 🙂
The speaker on the first session was Prof. Thomas Ertl from BOKU Wien – University of natural resources and life sciences Vienna. The topic of the session were the key elements in water cycles, the stakeholders and factors of efficient and sustainable water management. During the brainstorming, we were to answer the questions: How much water do we really use? Why does the water sometimes have no “cycle”? Who does actually need water? Who are the pollutants? Which is better for running the water services – private or public sector? We discussed also the costs and revenues in water distribution services.
Prof. Ertl also talked about the reasons of water shortage and described Austria’s positive water balance.
Then it was time for the coffee break accompanied with the original Austrian marble cake that helped us to break the ice and start conversation. I must say that communication with the people behind the chapter names is one of the vital parts of the international meetings – especially when we talk about the oikos community. I do not know anyone who is not clever, interesting, open-minded and friendly. Maybe that is why we, as a community, are so strong – I just love you, oikees 🙂
One highlight about our coffee breaks and snacks was that everything was cooked and prepared by our lovely hosts – oikos Vienna team, maybe that is why cookies and sandwiches gained special taste and aroma 🙂
Coffee break was followed by the second session. Martin Wafler, from cewas and seecon international made us think about water as a resource. The session was full of interesting and valuable information, numbers and figures that we found unbelievably interesting and it was a natural start for passionate discussion. Some of us did not know that only three percent of the whole water resources is fresh water and 2.5 percent out of that icebergs consist of.
We also talked about saving water and one of the main conclusions in the session was that it can be possible only after we change our consumption habits. It is mainly because around 90 percent of our use is indirect – hidden in the production and distribution of the goods we consume (food, clothes, furniture etc.). At this point, the most impressive was the map of hot spots in Swiss water consumption that showed up that Switzerland imports goods mainly from regions in India, Russia and the Middle East.
Mr. Wafler also talked about the water treatment and the difficulties of building a sanitation system. In the end it was an interesting workshop about the creating of the water, energy and raw materials flow chart.
Directly after these sessions we traveled to Bad Vöslau, where after a five minutes’ walk from the station we arrived at the biggest water bottling company in Austria – Vöslauer. At the company office, full of certificates showing of how sustainable the company is, we heard about the trends and figures in recycling and reusing of the bottles inside the company. Presentation was followed with the excursion to the plant.
Finally we got to the most interesting part – the thermal bath. Braves and those who did not forget to take their swimsuit with them, went for swimming in the Vöslauer mineral water. Luckily I was among them and I must say it was the most amazing experience – clean healing water, old history and relaxing atmosphere.
It must be a proper dinner after swimming, right? We were not disappointed – dinner was going to be right after the thermal bath and we walked to the restaurant. Why the walking was so important? First, it was not a usual one, it was an impact walk, and then the road was surrounded with the stunning vineyards. That is especially astonishing during the harvest time, right?
The restaurant was surrounded by vineyard fields. Nice view, tasty food, freshly soothed grape juice and local wine made that place unforgettable.
After a long day we came back tired but full of remarkable and extraordinary adventures.
I would like to thank the oikos Vienna – CEE meeting organization team for their help and attention and enthusiasm. Thank you guys, you did a great job!
By Tako Balgiashvili, oikos Prague
For more pictures visit the oikos Vienna Facebook page.
The oikos Vienna CEE Meeting Team wants to thank its sponsors: