When it comes to writing about water one does not have to be a genius to say that water should be used wisely and not wasted. What sometimes really takes a genius to figure out is that water is a common resource; it belongs to each and every one of us.

The easy access to tap water belies the complex nature of this resource. Consider the fact that water has been used for ages and is always being recycled… since time unknown. The water we consume, wash ourselves with and use to clean the house is water that has been on this earth since its early days.

Something so old and so precious is worth preserving. Living on an island that has the smallest per capita freshwater resources in the Mediterranean should make us think and question the way we use water. It not only is a public good but it is inextricably linked to the very foundation of life, ours and a variety of flora and fauna. Bear in mind that 70 per cent of our body is made up of water. Yes, water is vital!

Hardly any economic activity is conceivable without water. The materials we consume, food, our lifestyle, agriculture and the manufacturing industries all depend on the use of water. It really is up to the choices we all make to ensure that we do not ambush our need to have a clean incessant water supply. According to the National Statistics Office, the demand for water in Malta is increasing. The main increase is coming primarily from the domestic sector, followed by the public sector, industry, tourism and the agricultural and other commercial sectors. All it takes is making the right choice and use the correct amounts we need.

In other words, we are all contributing to an increase in demand for water. Conversely, we all have a role to play in making the right choices and ensuring the proper use of water. The government is ensuring our islands aim to restore the quality and quantity of groundwater. The government’s actions fall in line with the Water Framework Directive, which not only recognises the intricate relationship between water quality and economic activity but views water as a heritage that needs to be safeguarded.

And what about the value of water as part of the green growth agenda? A strong sustainable society is based on efficient use of resources, hence, the need to address those human activities that are threatening the quality of the water environment.

These priorities are also recognised at an international level. Mankind may have accelerated the event of climate change. The prediction points to higher temperatures by 2030 in the Maltese islands. We need to start thinking and acting now to ensure sustainable water use into the future. We depend on having a secure water supply and that is why the government has directed its efforts towards chartering a journey to address water resources through our very own Water Catchment Management Plan.

Perhaps not surprisingly, water has been chosen as the central theme for this year’s edition of the Earth Garden event, which will take place tomorrow and on Sunday at Ta’ Qali. The event will seek to raise awareness of this precious resource through a series of activities organised by a number of NGOs, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism, the Environment and Culture, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the Water Services Corporation, the Malta Resources Authority and the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs.

The event will feature various music performances and an open village, among other activities. The idea is to set a refreshing scene that focuses attention on water issues, among others, and brings people together to celebrate culture and the environment. There will be tours to the Pembroke reverse osmosis plant (at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday; one should send an e-mail to book a place).

Water is the Blue Gold. It has become symptomatic to ensuring a rich heritage that sustains our environment and us too. The Earth Garden Festival 2011 should be an opportunity to help us appreciate and unite in celebrating the value of the water resource across the islands and creating an opportunity that embraces the paradigm shift towards sensible approaches for all.


The author is environment and sustainable development officer at the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism, the Environment and Culture

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