Sewage will be treated and used for agriculture and industrial activity, Minister Konrad Mizzi said today.
Addressing the press at the water treatment plant in Iċ-Ċumnija, near Mellieha, where he inaugurated new equipment for the purpose, Dr Mizzi announced that three water treatment sites would soon be able to turn sewage into water fit for agriculture.
This, he said, was thanks to a €20million investment, partly financed through EU funds. All the sites would be functional by the end of summer.
Dr Mizzi explained to reporters that sewage was already being treated on the island but this was being pumped out to sea.
The treated sewage would in future pass through additional processes of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and finally oxidisation.
Some seven billion litres of water would be produced annually through this new system.
Dr Mizzi then explained that another €20million would be used to get the water to rural areas, then farmers would be encouraged and guided on how to apply for further EU funds to get the water to their fields.
“Thanks to these initiatives we are estimating to reach about 2,200 hectares of fields. That’s around a quarter of all agricultural land in Malta,” he said.
Dr Mizzi said the government understood that farmers had high overheads – “so we decided to offer this water for free”.
He said that each hectare would be allotted 5 000 cubic meters of water – to encourage “the right behaviours”.
Dr Mizzi said that the system will make more water than needed.
And since this cannot be stored, it will “recharge” the aquifer - a body of permeable rock which contains Malta’s groundwater.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat briefly addressed the press conference and said he hoped that farmers would take up the new system which was aimed at helping them.
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