Supply of highly polished tertiary treated water for agricultural use

Malta is a semi-arid country located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. The scarcity of water has always been an issue since documented history and meeting the demand for both municipal water supply as well as the needs of the agricultural and commercial sectors has always provided an important challenge.

However, this challenge has also provided Malta with an opportunity to diversify and further develop its water supply infrastructure. This can be highlighted by the introduction of sea-water desalination technology in the 1980’s, and the continued improvement of the operational efficiency of these desalination plants. Today, sea-water desalination reliably provides around 60% of the municipal water supply, and has therefore become an important water resource to ensure the sustainability of Malta’s water supply.

The New Water programme will see the development of an annual production capacity of 7 million m3 of high-quality water suitable for safe crop irrigation. The project will hence have the capacity to potentially address up to 35% of the current total water demand of the agricultural sector. The New Water project is thus one of the key measures under Malta’s Programme of Measures intended to enable the achievement of good groundwater quantitative status in all groundwater bodies in the Maltese islands by 2021.

 In addition, the high quality of the New Water can enable its use for landscaping and industry, further enabling the use of this water during periods of low demand by the agricultural sector.

The project which is now well underway involved the development of three water polishing plants which upgrade the quality of treated water from the islands’ three Urban Wastewater Treatment Plants (UWWTPs) to irrigation standards. The three polishing are therefore located within the footprint of the UWWTPs at Ras il –Hobz (Ghajnsielem) in Gozo, Tac-Cumnija (Mellieha) in the North of Malta and Ta’ Barkat (Xghajra) in the south of Malta.The major one in Ta’ Barkat in the south of Malta can produce 9,600 cubic metres per day. The plants at Ic-Cumnija in the north of Malta and in Ras il-Hobz in Gozo have a capacity of 6,400 and 3,200 cubic metres per day respectively. These plants can reach a total production volume of 7,000,000m3 per year.

New Water is available through hydrants which are accessed by electronic cards. As of January 2018, seven hydrants are available in the North region of Malta.

The WSC is currently developing three networks (North, South and Gozo) to increase the number of hydrants available and thus reduce the use of water bowsers.

This project is part financed by the European Union – EAFRD funds

Water Services Corporation