‘New Water’ project to be completed before end of year

Minister Konrad Mizzi says that tenants will be able to present their lease agreements to ARMS as proof of residence, without requiring their landlords' signatures.

An innovative project to convert drainage into high-quality water will be completed before the end of the year, no-portfolio minister Konrad Mizzi said.

The ‘New Water’ project is expected to treat around a third of the drainage – around seven million litres - that is currently dumped into the sea.

The water will be treated in three phases – ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidification. It will then be used for agriculture, industry, and to recharge aquifers.

“This three-phase treatment of new water will be revolutionary, and Malta will only be the third country in the world to go after it, following Israel and Singapore.”

Responding to a series of supplementary parliamentary questions by Labour MPs Godfrey Farrugia and Etienne Grech, Mizzi added that the Water Services Corporation will inject the water by the coast to create a “natural curtain of good water”, and that three polishing plants will be installed by the three drainage plants in Malta and Gozo.

Mizzi – a former energy minister – was answering the PQs in the absence of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, to whom the questions were addressed to.

He said that the WSC is working to install a 28km distribution network for the new water to pass through farms, in a €30 million investment.

The project will be optional for farmers; those who sign up to it will have to pay to maintain and install the water pumps but will obtain the water free of charge. Farmers will be given electronic cards to retrieve the water, and the amount of water they take out will be marked.

Mizzi added that the Ta’ Bakrat sewage plant will benefit from a €2 million landscaping project, the tenders for which will be released in the coming days.

“The project will be a quantum leap for the plant, and will both reduce the smells coming out of the plant and render the physical structure more pleasing on the eye,” he said.

Mizzi also said that tenants will soon be able to receive water and electricity bills from ARMS without requiring their landlords’ signatures.

“Some landlords refuse to allow ARMS to deliver their bills directly to the tenant, and unfortunately some tenants pay higher prices than residential tariffs. Tenants will now be able to present their lease agreement to ARMS as proof of residence, an act of social justice.”

Following the Panama Papers leaks which revealed an offshore trust fund and company held by Mizzi, the former energy minister was stripped of his portfolio and retained as a minister with the Office of the Prime Minister, effectively rendering him a minister without a portfolio.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat took over the energy portfolio whilst Chris Fearne was promoted to health minister.

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