New Water treatment facility to reduce dependency on ground water

The facility was inaugurated by the Prime Minister who said it would make Malta the first country not to dump raw sewage into the ocean

Minister Konrad Mizzi, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tour the new water treatment plant in Ta' Cumnija
Minister Konrad Mizzi, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tour the new water treatment plant in Ta' Cumnija

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this evening inaugurated a new water treatment facility in Mellieha that will be treating sewage and converting it to water that can be used for agricultural and industrial purposes.

Muscat said that for years, water used for agriculture had been extracted from boreholes, and this was resulting in the salinity of Malta’s groundwater constantly increasing and that this negatively impacts agriculture.

The project, called the New Water project, consisted of three “water polishing” plants, and would make Malta one of the first countries not to dump raw sewage into the ocean and to use it for industrial purposes.

Muscat said that during the 90s, a “commendable project” in Marsaskala had sought to accomplish the same thing but had failed.

Moreover, the Prime Minister said he understood how big an issue water supply was for farmers, adding that he expected them to approach the new water supply with scepticism initially.

“I don’t think we will see an immediate dramatic shift, but in three to four seasons will see the change if we maintain the quality,” he said, adding that the facility could be one of the solutions to Malta’s water crisis which he said had not received any serious attention since the first introduction of reverse osmosis technology.

Minister Konrad Mizzi said that one of the government’s objectives at the start of the legislature was to have a sustainable supply of water, even more so since the demand for water had continued to increase.

“To reduce extraction, you must offer an alternative,” said Mizzi. “Up until recently, this water used to be treated and dumped in the sea. Now, through this production unit the water will pass through three additional processes and will be converted to very high quality water.”

The water will undergo a process of microfiltration followed by a complex reverse osmosis processed, and advanced UV oxidation.

He said the facility would start operating immediately and the three new facilities would be generating up to 7 million cubic meters or 7 billion litres of water per year.  

He added that this was the first phase of the project, and that the second phase would see €20 million in EU funds being used to transport the water to rural areas around the island.

Farmers will then be able to apply for ERDF funds to set up a pipeline, taking water directly to their fields.

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