World Water Day 2013

The Green Drinks March 2013 WATER event was absolutely great! A slap-into-reality talk by Engineer Marco Cremona, the launch of the innovative WaterRecycle System (re-using of grey water from showers, wash-hand basins and washing machines for toilet flushing) by Sparkbow Ltd, Obelisk Auctions - a beautiful venue, Hon Minister Dr Konrad Mizzi's presence and reassurance and the lovely people who turned up.

 A network of people we are very proud of :) .
 For photos of the event click HERE

During the event, a Survey Question was asked to the participants. 

Is water:
a)     a strategic resource
b)     an economic resource
c)      an environmental resource

Ing Marco Cremona analysed the results and he submitted the following:  74% of participants submitted an answer, of which 59% consider groundwater to be a strategic resource; 17% an economic resource and 24% an environmental resource.

In view of the fact that Malta's only substantial natural resource of fresh water is groundwater and in consideration of the fact that without groundwater this country on has 2-3 freshwater storage in its reservoirs, I consider groundwater to have a high strategic value. Groundwater will allow us to survive should our Reverse Osmosis plants fail to work, be it sabotage, a prolonged electricity power cut or an oil spill around Malta.

The fact that groundwater can provide us with 23 million tonnes of fresh water a year at very low cost of production, means that it is also of economic importance. Indeed it has sustained agriculture and a number of other economic activities since it was discovered around 100 years ago.

In my opinion, deep groundwater (which exists at sea level) and is in contact with seawater at the coast has a marginal impact on ecology and biodiversity.

The only major subsurface discharge is at the Grand Harbour (Marsa), which as we well know is today of no/insignificant ecological value. In other areas i.e. all around the circumference of the islands, the discharge is such that it is impossible to measure (in terms of salinity). I know of no places other than Marsa that the subsurface flows are significant. If they were, they would have been exploited. (At Marsa the brackish water discharges were exploited by the WSC Brackish Water RO plant at Albertown since 1982 (but which was closed down in the 90s because of water pollution issues).

* * *
In support of World Water Day, Green Drinks Malta presents 

“Water in Malta – are we clutching at straws?”

The presentation by Ing Marco Cremona on behalf of Malta Water Association will give an overview of the current state of water resources in Malta, the issues concerning the sustainability of the resources, and attempts to provoke the audience as to whether we have enough water to go around today, and in the future. Options for ‘survival’ will be provided.

Afterwards we are invited by Sparkbow Ltd to their launch of the WaterRecycle System ® whereby grey water from showers and laundry can be reused for flushings and irrigation using an eco-friendly odourless disinfectant).  All invited for drinks.

Saturday the 23rd March 2013 @ 7.30pm – 10pm
Venue:  Obelisk Auctions Gallery, Villa Drusilla, No 1, Mdina Road, Attard, Malta
Book your FREE place:

The Malta Organic Agriculture Movement (MOAM) endorses this event and understands the critical importance of raising awareness about water.  They cite that “at the water level, organic farming shows a lower leaching rate of nitrates in groundwater as compared to the average rate of integrated or inorganic agriculture, as proved by low nitrogen residues observed in autumn in the soil of almost all the crops examined, with a positive impact also on surface water quality. According to some studies, the loss of nutrients per unit surface is lower up to 57% in organic agricultural systems. Organic farming eliminates almost completely the risk of contamination of groundwater and surface water due to pesticides and other synthesis chemical substances.  Therefore, organic farming is the chosen agricultural system for the areas where water is withdrawn also to be turned into drinking water”.

. Decrease in groundwater and surface pollutants;
· Decrease in nitrates percolation in groundwater;
· Increase in surface water quality;
· Decrease in the loss of nutrients per unit surface up to 57%.
· Elimination of the risk of groundwater and surface water contamination with pesticides.

Nature Trust (Malta) considers Water as a very important resource for Malta.  Many today take this resource fore granted and  do not realise that 55% of our water is coming from the sea through Reverse Osmosis plants thus contributing to air pollution through energy demands.  Over tapping of our ground water is also contributing to biodiversity loss in Malta and habitats loss.  As citizens we need to be more responsible on how we use this resource and in parallel urge our political leaders to act fast.  The more we depend on RO water the more are we contributing badly towards our health, well being and the environment around us.

Friends of the Earth (Malta) says that it is a known fact that over-extraction of water in Malta is severely depleting our fresh water reserves. It is outrageous that the greater part of extraction is from unregulated illegal sources. Besides agriculture, this finite resource is being exploited as a cheap substitute to town water by industries (including beverage companies), hotels, commercial establishments and even privately owned swimming pools. The unregulated quality of this water is also posing a serious risk to public health and our tourism industry.
Considering that the Reverse Osmosis plants already consume a large percentage of our electricity (and therefore a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions), the imminent water crisis will put additional burden on the energy sector, which is also facing its own difficulties.