“New Water” plant inaugurated to “revitalise” Gozo’s agricultural sector
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A New Water polishing plants was inaugurated in Gozo today. This is be the second of three plants for the Water Services Corporation.
“New Water” is highly polished reclaimed water, which can be used for agriculture, industry, landscaping and other applications.
The Government in a statement said that it “will breath new life into the agricultural sector in Gozo, with the production of very high quality water to be used inter alia in agriculture and in industry.”
The project was inaugurated by Ministers Joe Mizzi and Justyne Caruana and Parliamentary Secretaries Aaron Farrugia and Clint Camilleri.
Minister Joe Mizzi described this step as significant for the sustainability of the island of Gozo, after work started years ago by the Corporation, which managed to stabilise the quality and profile of sewage entering the Ras il -Hobz plant in Ghajnsielem.
Treated sewage from the Corporation’s sewage treatment plants was previously discharged to sea. This is now being passed through tertiary treatment polishing plants that totalled an investment of €20 million in EU and local funds.
He explained that this means that the treated sewage will now be treated through three stages: ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and Advanced UV-oxidation, to change it into high-quality water, that ensure high security of the finished product.
He said that farmers’ take-up of New Water so far is very encouraging. He added that Government is determined to continue supporting this vital sector.
Farmers in the north of Malta are already benefiting from this type of water through the first project carried out in Mellieha and it is being distributed to four points across this area.
Minister Mizzi, said that apart from this project the Corporation has already started to carry out the necessary studies to build a new desalination plant at Hondoq ir-Rummien, which would produce about 9,000 cubic metres of water per day, with the aim of eliminating the reliance on the reverse osmosis plant in Cirkewwa and the pipeline linking the two islands.
Minister Justyne Caruana praised the initiative launched by the WSC in Gozo and said that after many years of waiting Gozitan farmers will now have free water. The plant will have the capacity to produce 3,200 cubic metres per day.
She remarked that the agricultural sector has great potential in Gozo and in the context of the EkoGozo vision in the aspects of rurality – it is a key pillar of the strategy of regional development on the island.
Dr Caruana said that over the last year, 1,250 Gozitan farmers have resorted to some kind of help or assistance from the Ministry for Gozo. “This shows that the Gozitan farmers are keen to improve their operations and invest in the local product.” she said.
WSC Chief Executive Officer Richard Bilocca said that through New Water plants, “WSC is providing a crucial lifeline to the agricultural sector and the water table at the same time. He explained how every litre distributed from these plants is a litre less of extracted groundwater.
New Water plants include very sensitive equipment and any improper use of the urban sewer will lead to inevitable interruptions. In Gozo, farmers will be able to access immediately 3 special dispensers by means of a smart card and in the future, this number will be increased to over 50.
Photograph: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri