The simple answer to whether tap water is drinkable in Malta is yes, it is. While the long held ingrained perception, held by the majority, says it is not a good idea to drink our tap water, we beg to differ. Let’s look at the facts.
Malta’s tap water is a blend of groundwater and desalinated water. Groundwater is the water found underground which has percolated through the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock from rain. Desalinated seawater is extracted from deep shore wells sunk in coralline limestone which goes through a lot of different processes to convert into high-purity drinking water in its three RO plants at Ċirkewwa, Pembroke, and Għar Lapsi, and a new one, soon to be opened in Gozo, at Ħondoq ir-Rummien, before it reaches our home.
By the end of the process, these two different water sources are blended and stored in the 24 reservoirs in Malta, Gozo and Comino which have a total capacity of 400,000 cubic metres. All the production, transfer and storage of water is controlled and monitored from the control room based at Luqa.
The potable water produced is disinfected by adding a minimum amount of chlorine. This kills any remaining bacteria in the water but is of a low enough level not to have any effect on our health. The final stage in the process is the pumping of the product into the distribution network.
But, before the water is released from the reservoirs, samples are collected, monitored and analysed in labs. Once it’s good to go, only then does it flow into your home, good enough to drink. Random tests are also carried out in various households around the Maltese islands. These tests ensure that tap water is also safe for drinking after it has left any of the plants. These tests and water quality for each zone are accessible at https://live.wsc.com.mt/PublicWeb/, by clicking on ‘control room’ and choosing water quality.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot that goes in to getting that water to your taps, at a level of purity that’s good enough to drink.
So while there’s a long methodical process to getting that water into your taps, tap water consumption in Malta remains one of the lowest in Europe. Although drinking water produced by the WSC is safe and meets all the relative WHO, EU and Maltese standards, its taste has been the centre of debate many times and for decades. The ‘hard’ taste has been attributed to the chloride and mineral content found in the final blended water supplied to customers. It is WSC’s intention to increase water quality to encourage more people to use tap water for drinking purposes rather than having to revert to bottled water.
The Net Zero-Impact Project project will have a number of positive impacts on Malta. By bringing better tasting drinking water into our homes, we will reduce the amount of plastic that we consume – no more bottled water, and last but not least it will benefit us financially, because tap water is definitely cheaper than bottled water.
So, as you can see, we are moving towards becoming a more water-conscious country; one that cares about this essential natural resource. For more information visit water.org.mt.
Water – be the change.