Climate change will aggravate water scarcity for Maltese agriculture

Malta’s projected temperature and rainfall is expected to change by the end of the 21st century, as climate changes is set to aggravate the island's water resources

Malta’s water problem is aggravated by the existing scarcity of water supply through reservoirs and groundwater
Malta’s water problem is aggravated by the existing scarcity of water supply through reservoirs and groundwater

Malta’s projected temperature and rainfall will significantly change by the end of the 21st century, as climate change threatens to aggravate the island’s water resources.

A study by University of Malta scientists on future climate change impacts on Maltese agriculture says higher temperatures, and lower and more variable rainfall, will increase water demand for irrigated areas.

The problem is aggravated by Malta’s already existing scarcity of water supply through reservoirs and groundwater.

By 2070, it is estimated that each hectare of agricultural land will require an extra 2,190 cubic metres of water each year – the equivalent of over one million bottles of two-litre mineral water bottles.

This would amount to an extra six cubic metres of water each day, or 3,000 bottles of mineral water each day: 7.9 million cubic metres of freshwater per annum.

That would increase annual freshwater demand from 28 million cubic metres in 2010, to 36 million cubic metres in 2070 – an increase of 28%.

The study – “Future Climate Change Impacts on Malta’s Agriculture” – by Charles Galdes and Kimberly Vella from the Institute of Earth Systems, was published in an international publication issued by Springer.

Increased demand for fresh water is expected to have critical implications for future crop production.

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