The main aim of the LIFE-IP RBMP-MALTA project is to support the implementation of the second River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) through the establishment of an integrated framework for the optimized management of all water resources on the Maltese islands. To achieve this, it will seek to address the key horizontal challenges identified during a gap analysis undertaken as part of the development process for the second RBMP. The challenges will be addressed through the implementation of best practice, demonstration, pilot study, and capacity building actions.
The LIFE Integrated Project (IP) is planned to be implemented over the whole of the Malta River Basin District (RBD), and thus over the whole territory of interest to Malta´s 2nd River Basin Management Plan. In practical terms it is foreseen that the actions of the IP will be implemented in the two main islands of Malta and Gozo as Malta faces challenges such as water scarcity and drought conditions, high population density, saline intrusion, contamination, vulnerability of the coastal waters. The proposal includes several actions focusing on the development of pilot actions on a regional basis. Such actions include demonstration sites for wastewater reuse, managed aquifer recharge systems in the local water management context, where these management practices will be tested through pilot sites established under LIFE IP actions and then replicated on a national perspective through the utilisation of EU Cohesion Funds CF and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funded measures under the 2nd RBMP.
The objectives of the project are to increase the awareness of the need to conserve and protect water resources and dependent terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems; to facilitate the uptake of measures to build up the confidence of stakeholders and water users in the solutions proposed; to improve the institutional approach to measure implementation, achieving a high level of institutional and stakeholder dialogue; to reduce uncertainty in water body status assessments through improved knowledge of water-related processes, ecosystems and ecosystem services, as well as on interactions with anthropogenic activity, with a view to inform appropriate ecosystem-based management regimes and increase the trust of stakeholders in the status assessments. With such objectives, it is expected that there will be a reduction of domestic water demand by around 5%, thereby generating annual savings of around 850 000m3 in the municipal water supply. Moreover, a net increase in the mean annual recharge of around 1.2 million m3, coming from alternative water sources such as rainwater runoff and highly-cleaned treated effluents is targeted together with the increased capacity of wastewater treatment plants to produce highly-cleaned water and increased use of this treated wastewater (instead of groundwater), the reduction of flood risk and an improved groundwater status but also to increase awareness on the challenges facing the water sector and to optimised management of coastal ecosystems.
The 8-year project, promoted by The Energy and Water Agency of Malta (EWA), has a total budget of 17 million Euros and involves Malta and the Maltese islands and non-EU UfM member countries for capitalization of activities. In long-term perspectives, to make the most of the knowledge and experiences generated through the project, regional knowledge transfer is a key component of the project. To this aim the UfM, through the UfM label, is being proposed as a partner to build bridges between the promoter of LIFE IP project and interest administrations from SEMED countries for potential replicability and knowledge transfer of components.
About the promoter and partner institutions
The Energy and Water Agency of Malta (EWA) is a government agency whose main functions include the formulation, evaluation, monitoring and implementation of national policies concerning the use of energy and water in sustainable manner, the preparation and update of plans to meet National and EU energy and water resources management targets and the implementation of projects conductive to the achievement of such targets through energy efficiency initiatives, renewable energy penetration and water conservation measures. The EWA took over the role of policy agency from the Malta Resources Authority (MRA) following an administrative reform undertaken by the Maltese Government aimed at separating policy and regulatory functions in different public agencies.