Sixteen per cent of Malta's groundwater volume is set to be lost in the next 80 years as a result of climate change, a study has found.
The study was carried out by scientists from the Universities of Calabria and Malta. In Malta, it was led by Prof. Aaron Micallef. Three-dimensional geological and groundwater models were developed for the Maltese islands.
Groundwater supplies almost half of the potable water in Malta, one of the poorest countries globally in terms of water resources, the study points out.
Three predicted effects were considered on the impact on groundwater volume and saltwater intrusion simulated for 80 years:
- Reduction in precipitation;
- Increase in water demand; and
- Sea-level rise.
Of these, water demand plays the most important role in reducing groundwater volume. Sea-level rise, on the other hand, only plays a marginal role.
The study was funded by the European Commission, the University of Malta and the Helmholtz European Partnering Initiative.