The WSC’s first of three “New Water” polishing plants was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat. These will provide very high quality water for agriculture, industry, landscaping, and other sectors where drinking water quality levels are not required.
To date treated sewage which is safe to discharge to sea without any impact on the environment, is being discharged from the Corporation’s 3 sewage treatment plants in the Maltese Islands. However, this is a waste of a precious resource. Therefore, three tertiary treatment polishing plants were built with €20 million EU and local funds which will take this treated sewage and treat it to almost drinking water standards. Sophisticated additional microfiltration, reverse osmosis and oxidisation processes ensure complete security of the finished product.
The two other polishing plants in Ras il-Ħobż, Gozo and Ta’ Barkat in the south of Malta are expected to be inaugurated later this year. Some seven billion litres of New Water will be produced annually through this new system.
Following the construction of these polishing plants, another €20 million will be used to get this New Water to rural areas. Farmers would be encouraged and guided on how to apply for further EU funds to get the water to their fields. It is estimated that around 2,200 hectares of fields, around a quarter of all agricultural land in Malta, will benefit from this scheme. This New Water will be free for farmers.
An interesting aspect of this project is that New Water will also be produced during the wet winter months when demand is low. Since New water cannot be stored it will be used to “recharge” Malta’s underground aquifer which is already suffering the effects of severe over abstraction.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat briefly addressed the press conference and said he hoped that farmers would take up the new system which was aimed at helping them.
The Water Services Corporation has worked on the concept of providing a viable high-quality alternative to groundwater abstraction for many years. The fruits of all the research and in-house design and construction by WSC’s technical experts, will surely go a long way in helping Malta’s environment and water sustainability.
For the time being, New Water is supplied from Iċ-Ċumnija Polishing Plant (North).