Water leakages down to lowest ever levels, over €700,000 in bills recouped

Malta still loses 181 cubic metres of water every hour

Malta lost 398 cubic metres of water every single hour in 2020, down from 445cb.m in 2019 according to Water Services Corporation annual data.

But it was still a far cry from the staggering 1,020cb.m per hour lost in 2004, making 2020’s infrastructure leakage index (ILI) the lowest ever recorded.

The ILI for 2020 for the whole of the Maltese Islands was 1.87, significantly lower than the previous best score of 1.91 in 2015, a drastic reduction in leakages from 2005 when Malta registered an ILI of 4.

The WSC considers some of the leakages are unavoidable and not feasible to locate and repair them. Such leakages would amount to 208 cb.m/h, leaving 181cb.m/h that could still be avoided: the equivalent of 90,500 bottles of mineral water.

The reduction in leakages comes in the wake of a decision to recruit a leakage engineer dedicated to leakage management in every region. All regions registered lower leakage levels this year in comparison with 2019.

The WSC has an in-house tool designed to manage, control and attain leakage management targets, which are compiled on a weekly basis. With this tool the WSC has an immediate retrieval of information from all zones within a given region, allowing engineers to concentrate on zones with the highest leakage levels rather than spending valuable time and energy on lower leakages.

During 2020 the WSC sent over 6,600 letters to customers warning them of possible leakages in their private networks. 20,000 SMS alerts were also sent out to customers alerting them to abnormal consumption within their premises. In spite of coronavirus-related restrictions, nearly 3,000 home visits related to high consumption or water infiltration from neighbouring premises were carried out in 2020, saving “millions of litres of water” from being wasted.

And over €700,000 in back-dated consumption that went unbilled due to technical issues were collected after an analysis of over 600 accounts.

The WSC is now producing 1.5 million cubic metres of ‘new water’ – polished and treated sewage water use for agricultural purposes – a marked 60% increase over 2019. Nearly hafl was derived from the Mellieħa Ċumnija plant, 786,000cb.m, a significant 90% increase over the previous year. The plant now operates on a 24-7 basis. The plant treated 3.2 million cubic metres of raw sewage in 2020 and produced 3,600 tons of sludge. Most of the treated effluent is eventually discharged into the sea.