The project estimates that up to 75 per cent of hotels and 85 per cent of businesses could adopt simple solutions to lower excessive flow rates on showers and wash hand basins, and decrease the flushing volume of toilets.
“The audits revealed that there is a strong element of over-design in many hotels and businesses. By adopting uniform and standard flow rates, we are confident that enterprises could save at least 10 per cent on their current consumption.” stated Ing Marco Cremona, water expert to the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project.
The project is recommending standard flow rates of 7 litres per minute for showers, 5 litres per minute for wash-hand basins, and 6 litres volume for flushing toilets.
Other solutions which could yield substantial savings include rainwater harvesting and the treatment of grey water from baths, showers, and wash-hand basins in hotels to be used for flushing toilets and irrigation.
Malta’s only viable source of natural freshwater is groundwater. Supply, however, is limited and groundwater bodies are over-exploited and polluted with nitrates. This has led to a deterioration in groundwater bodies.
Addressing business executives present for the conference, Peter Gammeltoft, Head of the European Commission DG ENV's Water Protection Unit stressed on the importance that action is taken immediately: “If water scarcity is not tackled now it will just get worse. The Water Framework Directive requires that member states adopt a pricing mechanism which acts as a motivator for efficient use and gives an adequate contribution to cost recovery for water services. It also requires that member states ensure that their freshwater reserves are maintained, or restored to ‘Good Status’.”
Manuel Sapiano, a hydrologist at the Malta Resources Authority, spoke on the importance that consumers and businesses manage strategically and carefully their water consumption: “To maintain our natural water resources in a healthy state, it is important that all consumers manage their water consumption carefully and sustainably. Water saving projects such as the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project compliment national efforts at improving the sustainable use of water and the MRA welcomes this.”
Konstantina Toli, an Executive at GWP-Med, Alter Aqua Programme, discussed results of a pan-Mediterranean project encouraging the use of rainwater and grey-water as a more sustainable alternative to processed first class water. Dr Fabio Masi, PHD, from the LIFE WATACLIC Project also recommended the use of grey-water. Representatives from APS Bank and Hilton Hotel shared their experiences in saving water by regulating shower and tap flows, toilet flushing volumes, rainwater harvesting, and even sewage treatment.
The conference was organised by the Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association, sponsored by Island Hotels Group, Pantalesco and FM Environmental. 120 participants including Gerard Petit from DG Enterprise, Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, Ministry for Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Environmental Health Directorate, European Commission representation, MEUSAC, Malta Enterprise, University of Malta, and representatives from private industries attended.
The project is led by the Malta Business Bureau, supported by partners the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. The project receives 50% co-financing under the European Community’s LIFE funding programme, with the Office of the Prime Minister as the main co-financier, further co-financing and sponsorship from Easydry Malta, APS Bank, Island Hotels Group, and MSV LIFE.