WATER – BE THE CHANGE is a national water conservation campaign launched in September 2019 with the aim of delivering an effective educational and awareness raising campaign on the optimised and efficient use of water resources to facilitate a cultural shift in people’s behaviour towards water conservation on the Maltese Islands. The campaign will run for a period of 3 years targeting the domestic, commercial and agricultural sectors.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE MALTESE WATER SECTOR, is the scarcity of natural freshwater, as evidenced by the fact that Malta has the lowest natural freshwater availability per capita of all the European Union (EU) Member States.
Meaning that according to the United Nations (UN) Falkenmark Index for water scarcity, Malta classifies as having natural freshwater resources which are below the manageable capability for the country’s sustainable development. This situation arises due to Malta’s high population density, which at about 1,325 people per square kilometre, makes Malta by far the most densely populated EU Member State. Moreover, the Maltese population is expected to grow annually by 0.43% until 2030 (2nd Water Catchment Management Plan, 2015). This, together with the increasing number of tourists visiting the Maltese Islands, and the arid Mediterranean climate, poses a serious pressure on the local water resource.
Several sectors rely on the water resource, the main ones being the domestic, agricultural and commercial sectors.
The demand for water resources is currently addressed through four different sources: abstraction of groundwater; harvesting of rainwater runoff; desalination of seawater using reverse osmosis; and the treatment of wastewater. Groundwater abstraction is the dominant water supply resource in the Maltese Islands.
The strong reliance on groundwater abstraction has resulted in abstraction rates higher than the amount of water from rainfall which recharges Malta’s main aquifer (the mean sea level aquifer), which results in seawater intrusion.
Against this background, the importance of awareness of the current state of affairs in the local water sector, and the dissemination of such information to all stakeholders, should be emphasised. In view of the increasing demand, and the resulting competition between the various sectors for the limited water resource, awareness of the current situation is of paramount importance for ensuring good governance and optimising the management of water resources.
For any information about the campaign or to learn how you can make a difference, get in touch through one of the methods provided.