Minister Dalli and EU Commissioner Ferreira Visit Pembroke-Ta’ Qali Tunnel
Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Minister Miriam Dalli, along with EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, visited the ongoing construction of the 9.5 km long subterranean tunnel that runs from the Pembroke reverse osmosis plant to the Ta’ Qali reservoir on Monday. The project, which began construction in 2018, is expected to be completed by the end of this year and is currently at 94% completion.
During their visit, Minister Dalli, EU Commissioner Ferreira, were given an update on the progress of the tunnel project and saw firsthand the challenges encountered during the construction phase. Despite these challenges, the project team is confident that the project remains on track for completion by the end of the year.
Tunnel Progress and Challenges
Upon completion, the water distribution system will be able to transfer 52,000m3 of desalinated water daily from Pembroke to the Ta` Qali Group of Reservoirs through a 1.2m diameter pipeline. This will significantly reduce friction caused by current pipe diameters and eliminate head loss caused by current elevations, resulting in a highly efficient distribution process.
At the Ta’ Qali group of reservoirs, via this tunnel, the water will achieve a full blend potential by blending desalinated water with groundwater. An advanced control system will monitor the blended water and regulate the dosing quantities at Pembroke RO to ensure optimal dosing and minimize the use of chemicals, thereby optimizing the quality of potable water. This will also minimize lime injection and improve the Ph, resulting in less pipework degradation and reduced metering faults. The team will then distribute the water through a new gravity system to the east areas of Malta from Sliema to Valletta. Additionally, a separate transfer line will feed the Misrah Lewza Reservoirs in San Gwann from the Ta` Qali group of reservoirs.
Environmental Impact and European Funding
Minister Dalli commented on the importance of the project, saying “I am pleased to have seen the progress made on this important infrastructural project today, which is a key component of the Water Services Corporation’s plan to achieve net zero impact utility with the least possible environmental impact. This project, which is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the corporation with the support of European funds, will not only improve the quality of Malta’s water but also significantly reduce its environmental footprint.” EU Commissioner Ferreira added her support to the project, highlighting the EU’s commitment to supporting sustainable infrastructure projects in member states.
The project is being executed through a 36 million euro investment, with a significant proportion of the funding being provided by the European Union. The Water Services Corporation, under the leadership of CEO Cilia, remains committed to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of Malta’s water supply, and this project is a major step towards achieving that goal.