Malta is essentially an aquifer – a rock containing usable water – made mostly of limestone (a common aquifer rock holding water in interconnected fractures and cracks), which originally formed on the ocean bed some 25 million years ago. Historically, Malta had enough rainfall to sufficiently replenish the aquifers with fresh water and the country has always been innovative in managing water supply. However, the growing urbanisation, population density and tourist industry pose a challenge to water supply in the small Mediterranean island, which is being solved through innovation, cooperation and governance.
Role of Water in Malta
Malta, as a small island considers water as a crucial resource for its citizens and its economy particularly, where industry and tourism are concerned. However, as the country witnessing an increase in population and tourist arrivals, more needs to be done to ensure this resource is safeguarded into the future.
Dr Alexiei Dingli, Mayor of Valletta:
“When Valletta was being built in the 16th century, one of the conditions for all properties was that each had to have its own wells and water cisterns. Valletta Local Council would like to revive the underground wells of the city especially with the possible introduction of urban gardens.”
Water management technology in the region comes primarily from micro and small enterprises working hand in hand with MCAST and Malta Life Sciences Park.
Statistics show that tourists use more water than the local population, hence the government is working on the introduction of savings schemes within the HORECA sector. An important ongoing national campaign to raise awareness on the importance of water as a scarce resource is “Catch the Drop” run by HSBC Water Programme and the Ministry of Energy and Health.
Link with RTD & Innovation
Paragon Europe is a Maltese organisation focused on realising excellence through innovation, capacity building and technology transfer. With over twelve years of operational experience, Paragon’s multilingual, multicultural and multidisciplinary team has developed the right expertise to carry out tender and project activities to the highest standards. The three main water-related projects that Paragon has implemented in Malta are Free and Open Source Software for Water Resource Management, Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas and Demonstrating Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Solution to Water Scarcity and Drought. In 2015, during the Malta Water Week, Paragon launched the Water Cluster of Malta, which it coordinates since then. As from 2017, Paragon Europe is also the national coordinator of Climate-KIC for Malta.
Water actors in the Region
- Paragon Europe, leading advisory firm in R&I and technology transfer
- The Energy and Water Agency, national government’s body responsible for national policies in the energy and water sectors
- Water Services Corporation, public entity responsible for the complete drinking and waste water cycle
- Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST), centre of excellence for water research and training