S.A.I.L.I.N.G. is an initiative involving photographer Walter Zerla and the National Research Centre in Verbania, as well as Fantini as sponsor, to monitor the quality of the waters of lake Maggiore and Orta.
Name of the initiative is the acronym for a scientific project, the full name of which is Sensor-based Assessment on In Lake processes and water quality - Scientific INvestigation and Growing environmental awareness.
The original idea for the project came from Walter Zerla, and immediately met the approval of Daniela Fantini: to conduct a photographic survey in an extraordinary natural environment, sailing the waters of Lake Maggiore using advanced, innovative equipment like remote controlled drones.
The original idea was subsequently extended to include a scientific purpose, and the yacht Caipirinha Fantini was converted into a floating laboratory at the service of the CNR Institute for the Study of Ecosystems in Verbania.
Thanks to agreements between all parties involved, the survey operations began, initially on the waters of Lake Maggiore and later, during 2015, on those of Lake Orta, where the Fratelli Fantini company has its headquarters.
As Dr. Marina Manca, director of the CNR – ISE in Verbania explains:
“The project represents a great scientific opportunity based on the use of high sampling rate sensors for measuring limnological parameters. The scientific research team includes researchers Giuseppe Morabito and Michela Rogora, aided by the technical experience of Dario Manca”.
This is a pilot project, and the first of its scale in Europe: special sensors were fitted to the keel of the Caipirinha Fantini, designed to operate submerged for long periods of time, gathering data that is transmitted in real-time to the CNR laboratories via a radio link.
The central concept of the scientific project” explains Dr. Giuseppe Morabito” is the presence on the yacht of submerged sensors able to measure parameters like temperature, pH, electrical conductivity and oxygen content. All this information is used to analyse the response of the lake plankton population, with a level of detail impossible up to now, to exceptional events that could also be related to the changes we are seeing in the climate, like short but extremely intense rainfall, long periods of drought and changes in the lake’s level. The data we collect, transmitted in real-time, will also allow us to verify the health of the waters”.
The S.A.I.L.I.N.G. monitoring experience on Lake Orta takes on even more significance because it will provide concrete proof of the rebirth of the lake’s ecosystem, and how it cohabits with the local manufacturing industries.
“We decided to support this project for many reasons” explains Daniela Fantini, CEO of Fratelllli Fantini S.p.A.. “My family and my company have always been closely tied with the life of the lake, Lake Orta that is.
Over recent years I personally experienced the transformation of the lake from a bacteriologically dead condition with swimming prohibited, to its new life thanks to the liming operations that have returned the lake to the territory in all its beauty”.
The family business is based in Pella, on the lakeside. To contribute to restoring the waters of the Lake we already banned chrome plating many years ago.
On the subject of water, we have also been working on another project in Burundi: the construction of an aqueduct to carry water to people in need of it.
Through the Lakes project we return to our own territory that is so dear to us: it is a gesture of love for our land and our roots!
Monitoring the quality of the water and publishing the data helps make people more aware of how important water really is and the need to safeguard it as a precious resource.”