‘Water – a public resource which must be protected’


Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party this morning organised a roundtable debate on Malta’s water-related issues within an EU context, with the participation of state agency representatives, experts and NGOs.

Carmel Cacopardo AD Spokesman for Sustainable Development and Local Government stated that AD welcomes the proposals in the Climate Change adaptation strategy which recommend using recycled sewage, adequately filtered and polished, for agricultural  purposes. Though late in the day this turnabout is welcome and when implemented it will go a long way towards protecting the water table by providing an alternative to the use of ground water.

However, Cacopardo added, that this recommendation will require substantial investments to transport the water from the points where it will be purified to the points of use. These costs will have to be incurred  as the design of the current sewage purification network ignored alternative uses of the purified water. In fact the brief for the design  of the network only deemed it fit for discharge into the sea. AD has been actively campaigning for the use of the recycled sewage and for treating all sources of water as a priceless resource.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: ‘Malta has 8,000 private boreholes, extracting ground water for various uses, including water for soft drinks, animal husbandry, manufacturing industry, concrete batching plants, swimming pools, agriculture, lawns and private gardens – making it probably the country with the highest borehole density in the world. The current free-for-all situation and the recent increases in mains water tariffs has encouraged those who use large amounts of water to drill boreholes or purchase water extracted from boreholes. This is nothing but theft of a strategic resource, whilst everyone else is paying their utility bills. How could it be that such a scarce resource is being treated as if it had unlimited supply, and how come those who are grabbing it for free are being rewarded for doing so? ‘

The debate was chaired by journalist James Debono and participants included Michael Briguglio (AD Chairperson), Carmel Cacopardo (AD spokespeson for Sustainable Development and Local Government), Ralph Cassar (AD Secretary General), Marco Cremona (Hydrologist), Marc Muscat (CEO, Water Services Corporation), Peppi Gauci (Permaculture Foundation), Michelle Borg (MEPA), Dr John Mangion, Director of Water (Malta Resources Authority), David Xuereb, a representative of the Environmental Health Directorate, Francine Caruana (Executive Consultation – MEUSAC), Gordon Knox, Andre Portelli (Moviment Graffitti), Alfred E. Baldacchino, Joe Agius (Ramblers Association), Anna Zammit (sociologist) and Anne Zammit (environmental journalist).

One comment on “‘Water – a public resource which must be protected’

  1. I have lived in Gozo for 4 years and am shocked at the wast of fresh water on the Island. Whenever it rains water floods down roads and straight out to sea.

    This has a number of effects. The roads are undermined, homes and businesses are flooded, cars break down and people get very wet feet. The two greatest effects however are that tourists, at first amused, are then horrified as they realise they are on the ‘wrong side’ of the deluge and can’t get to restaurants, hotels etc., they won’t be coming back. Second, and more importantly, we wast thousands of cubic meters of fresh water by letting it run into the sea.

    With minimal cost and some ingenuity many of the valleys can be dammed. There would be no need for piping or pumping since the reservoirs could simply be left to replenish the aquifers over time. A secondary benefit would be the extra interest and habitats these new bodies of water would generate much as Chadwick lakes do now.

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