The Water Services Corporation is going through an unprecedented phase of carrying out EU-funded projects. Upon completion they will have a profound effect on the management of water as a primary resource in the Maltese Islands. Below is a brief explanation of the projects and what they have achieved.


Project Reference: ERDF 304. Priority Axis 4 – Climate Change and Resources Efficiency

This project is already providing an alternative water resource to private groundwater abstraction. In other words it will lessen the pressure on our underground aquifer due to its over-utilisation. At present the three main sewage treatment plants are discharging treated sewage into the sea. Since it is treated it causes no harm to the environment but is a waste of a potential resource. Therefore, three polishing plants are being built at these STPs which will further treat this treated sewage to very high quality standards. This “New Water” will be suitable and safe for various non-potable purposes.

In Gozo we will be polishing all 4000m3 per day of treated sewage effluent produced which will yield around 3200m3 per day of highly polished reclaimed water (the remainder will be reject and discharged to sea).

At the Iċ-Ċumnija plant we have started polishing treated sewage effluent and are supplying high-quality water to farmers in the Mellieha and Manikata areas. We will eventually be able to supply around 6400m3 per day.

In the south, out of the 55000m3 per day of treated sewage effluent, we will be polishing 12000m3 per day with an envisaged output of 9600m3 per day.

It is interesting to note that during the winter rainy season when demand for new water is very low, this will be treated to an even higher standard and will be used for aquifer recharging. This, therefore, is the WSC’s two-pronged strategy to address the chronic over-extraction problems of our groundwater sources. One prong of this strategy is the actual provision of an alternative very good quality supply of water to farmers, while the other prong will try to reverse decades of damage to the aquifer.

The above strategy was formulated after years of testing and experimentation in various locations. The most recent is the test facility at Bulebel where experimental aquifer recharge is being carried out under strictly-controlled conditions.

The WSC also has problems with seawater intrusion into sewer mains situated below sea level. Sea water entering the sewer system not only causes salinity issues at the STPs, but it also increases pumping costs. Further measures are to be taken to reduce this seawater intrusion by replacing and/or relining certain sewer mains. The expected reduction in salinity will also positively influence the quality of the “New Water” explained above



Project Reference: ERDF 334. Priority Axis 4 – Climate Change and Resources Efficiency

This project consists of measures aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of the Water Services Corporation.

Pumping huge volumes of water all around the Maltese Islands needs a lot of electrical energy. This not only costs money but it also produces CO2. This project has already reduced frictional energy losses in pipes due to the upgraded pipeline between the Ta’ Bakkja Pumping Station and the Ta’ Qali Reservoir, the transfer pipeline between Ta’ Qali and Naxxar Reservoirs and the transfer pipeline between Hondoq Booster and Ta’ Cenc Reservoir in Gozo.

A pipeline was also laid from Ta’ Qali Reservoir to supply the central-eastern area of Malta. This area is now being fed by gravity rather than by direct pumping which will save pumping costs and reduce the effects of water cuts due to power cuts.



Project Reference: CF 355. Priority Axis 5 - Safeguarding the Environment

Through this project the Corporation's water quality and monitoring capabilities were enhanced. Reverse Osmosis membranes were upgraded and Ultra Filtration equipment installed at Wied il-Kbir and Tal-Hlas. The WSC laboratory was upgraded thus enabling a wider range of tests to be carried out. These measures are interlinked and complimentary to each other thereby contributing towards improving operational efficiency and providing a better service to the customer.



Project Reference: CF 356. Priority Axis 5 - Safeguarding the Environment

This project comprised the extension of the wastewater collection network to connect the village of Bahrija and the rural areas of Għajn Qajjet and Bieb ir-Ruwa to the main network at Rabat. This means that cesspits are now redundant and are no longer be used thereby eliminating hundreds of sewage tanker trips per annum which has had a positive effect on traffic congestion. The wastewater collection system in Għeriexem and Vjal il-Ħaddiem in Rabat was also upgraded to cater for increased demand and for environmental protection.




Project Reference: RDF 125. Priority Axis 1 – Improving the Competitiveness of the Agricultural Sector

As a result of this project treated sewage effluent is being further treated and used as an additional water resource for agricultural use. The project also aims at addressing the problems associated with the treatment of farm waste. Another objective of the project is improving the effective use of groundwater for agricultural landscaping, industry and other uses.

This “New Water” is being piped to a number of strategic locations to dedicated dispensers that work by access cards. Boreholes used for agriculture are also being metered.