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20 years of activity for WSC

Published on the Malta Independent of the 25th January 2012 

The Water Services Corporation has celebrated its 20th anniversary by launching a new customer contract, outlining its obligations towards customers as well as customers’ own responsibilities.

The WSC was set up on 20 January, 1992, although CEO Marc Muscat noted during a visit by the minister responsible, Tonio Fenech, yesterday, that its history stretched back nearly 200 years. It had replaced the longstanding Water Works Department as the entity responsible for supplying water to consumers.
 
Mr Muscat noted that when it was set up, the corporation had 1,669 people on its books. Although it took over what used to be the Drainage Department in 2004, assuming responsibility also for the sewage system as a result, the WSC now employs just around 900 people, he pointed out.
 
He explained that one of the corporation’s most significant projects – one that is still ongoing – started in 1995, and aimed to cut down on the amount of water lost through leakage. While 4,000 cubic metres of water were lost to leakages every hour in 1992, this was brought down to 490 cubic metres an hour by 2011.
 
Addressing leakage allowed the WSC to reduce its dependence on reverse osmosis plants, Mr Muscat explained, cutting down water produced through the energy-intensive process by a third over the last 20 years. Nevertheless, RO plants continue to account for most of the WSC’s water production of 47,000 cubic metres a day: groundwater sources provide 38,000 cubic metres daily.
 
In the newly-launched contract, the WSC guarantees that no water cut will exceed 24 hours, whether it is the corporation’s fault or otherwise, and that an alternative water supply can be provided on request if the interruption is believed to be going to last longer.
 
It also promises to see to water or wastewater seepage into private property from its infrastructure within four hours, and to carry out the required works within 12 hours after the source is identified.
 
New water services should be installed within one month of application: if a new service cannot be provided due to exceptional circumstances applicants have to be informed within 10 working days.
 
In his address, Mr Fenech stressed that the WSC was of strategic importance, describing water as “the most essential resource” which people often took for granted but should not.
 
He compared Malta’s situation to that of Cyprus, stating that the latter ended up importing water at great expense after failing to properly secure its water supply.