Over 50,000 Maltese households will be getting ‘water audit’ to reduce wastage

A €17 million water management project will target the recharge of aquifers and restoration of valleys and coastal wetlands

Some 50,000 Maltese housholds will be audited and helped to optimise their water use efficiency as part of a €17 million water management “integrated programme” falling under the European Commission’s LIFE Programme, water management minister Joe Mizzi said this morning. 

The project’s final deliverable will be a “blueprint for the optimisation of water management” in Mediterranean islands.

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environment, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU.

Addressing a press conference together with Environment minister Jose Herrera, Mizzi said the project would see his ministry collaborate with that environment, Gozo, and infrastructure ministries, as well as a number of governmental entities.

He said the project would help Malta in addressing the challenges it faces in implementing the EU’s Water Framework Directive, through a series of educational campaigns and efforts to facilitate the uptake of measures related to water management, as well as contributing to a more comprehensive institutional approach to water.

The project, said Mizzi, will cost €17 million, €6.8 million of which were local funds, with the remainder coming in the form of EU grants. It will be spread over eight years and include up to 27 measures aimed at water conservation.

Manuel Sapiano, the chief policy officer at the Energy and Water Agency, said the measures will seek to address water management issues associated with a Mediterranean island state such as Malta including: water scarcity and drought, high population density, salt intrusion in its aquifers, contamination and the vulnerability of coastal waters.

He said the project would be divided into four phases, each spanning two years and would include actions including research, such as the mapping of industrial polluting activities, a model of Malta’s marine waters, groundwater and catchment modelling as well as the development of a monitoring strategy for contaminants of “emerging concern”.

Moreover, the project will also be seeing the restoration of up to 230,000 sq.m of coastal wetlands, and 15,000 sq.m of valley systems, the introduction of an eco-label scheme carrying, the development of an aquifer recharge scheme and a valley management plan among other actions.

Finally, he said that actions establishing a “multi-stakeholder platform” and the establishing of improved water use monitoring tools would contribute to the optimisation of Malta’s water governance framework.

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