As the New Year approaches hotels and businesses across Malta and Gozo have been invited to participate in the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project, aimed at developing solutions to save on service water.
The 258 businesses and hotels approached are consumers of significant amounts of service water – water consumed by guests and employees. The project will evaluate water consumption patterns for a number of them, allowing a local water expert to develop a number of solutions that are tailor-made for local companies. The project will then offer advice and technical consultation to help companies adopt these solutions.
Malta Business Bureau (MBB) CEO, Joe Tanti, speaking on behalf of the project partnership MBB, Malta Chamber, and the MHRA, said “Water is critical to the operations of many businesses and hotels. Yet water is a scarce resource which is only getting scarcer. The project aims to help businesses be proactive, preventing this scarcity from impacting on the sustainability and competitiveness of their operations.”
With only 50 cubic metres of renewable water per capita Malta is acknowledged as one of the top ten countries worldwide for water scarcity. According to MEPA’s most recent State of the Environment Report 45% of public water used in Malta in 2008 was extracted from groundwater sources.
Taking into consideration private groundwater extraction in addition to this public extraction, it is estimated that the rate of groundwater extraction in Malta is 47% more than the sustainable yield. Apart from depleting the quantity of freshwater reserves, this over-extraction also causes seawater to encroach into the aquifer and increases the salinity of remaining groundwater.
Moreover Climate Change is expected to reduce the amount of annual rainfall, with shorter rainy seasons of higher intensity storms increasing runoff and therefore decreasing opportunity for aquifer recharge and replenishment.
Unless action to manage water sustainably is taken, Malta will have to increase its reliance on desalination through Reverse Osmosis. This energy intensive process produces water that is a number of times more expensive than groundwater, thus increasing the overall cost of water production and potentially impacting on the competitiveness of industry and hotels.
“The project has already been approached by some businesses and hotels looking to collaborate and save water. We encourage more to come forward and benefit from our assistance.” concluded Mr Tanti.
These services are brought to local companies free of charge by leading project partner 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 Ministry for Tourism, Cultlure and the Environment as the main co-financier, further co-financing and sponsorship from Easydry Malta, APS Bank, Island Hotels Group, and MSV LIFE.