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TEWAII VALHU

The Maldives

Valhu means source in Dhivehi, the national language of the Maldives. 

Honeymoon destination, luxury resorts and first-class diving: all words that come to mind when thinking of the Maldives. But behind the pictures and postcards, natural and anthropogenic hazards have been putting pressure on the Maldive islands. Challenges that the islands face are similar to those of other Small Island Development States (SIDS). This includes a large dependency on imported food, sea level rise, groundwater contamination, drinking water scarcity and unprocessed plastic waste.

Resilient Island is an initiative that is aiming to implement a semi-closed hydroponic greenhouse on one of the islands, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Maldives. This project pioneers in the sense that a semi-closed greenhouse of this complexity has not been built before at such a location. Within project Valhu, Tewaii is responsible for water-related field research and the design of the water cycle of the greenhouse: from resource to waste disposal and water re-use. The main goal is to design a system that lends itself to the functionality of growing crops in this climate and area, but additional spin-off opportunities will play a large role in its design. This will be incorporated by exploring options that would potentially allow the greenhouse to tackle issues beyond the scope of import dependency.

Some of the included topics are: alternative water resources, aquaponics, drinking water, bio-fertiliser and sanitary treatment. Once researched, findings will be taken into account as design options, keeping in mind that their potential integration in the system would be aimed to approach circularity. Besides water availability and circularity there is a third component that is just, or perhaps even more, important: the social implementation of such a concept. To cover all three aspects, the field research will be split into a water-based, circular and social component.