The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

Watch: Progress in work on tunnel between Reverse Osmosis plant and Ta’ Qali reservoirs

Albert Galea Monday, 11 February 2019, 13:18 Last update: about 9 days ago

Work on a 9.5 kilometre log tunnel being drilled between the Pembroke Reverse Osmosis plant and the Ta’ Qali reservoirs, which will improve the overall water quality in many parts of Malta whilst also improving operational efficiency and environmental sustainability, is progressing nicely with the Water Services Corporation today showing Energy Minister Joe Mizzi and EU Funds Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia around the site.

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The project, when completed, will create a link between the plant and the reservoirs with a large 1.2 metre diameter mains, ensure that all the blending potential of Reverse Osmosis water is exploited whilst also reducing to the barest minimum the pumping energy required for the mains to function.

Speaking at the Reverse Osmosis plant, Mizzi said that the work being carried out was of incredible quality and was the maximum that one could get at the best value for money.  The pipes being used in the project were a first for Malta, he said. 

The production and supply of the pipes, which are made from glass fibre reinforced plastic, has been entrusted to a Turkish company – Superlit Boru Sanayi A.S. The tunnel will house two pipelines; one to deliver water to Ta’ Qali and the other to supply good quality blended water to the central part of the island.  This will be through a centralised hub feeding mainly through gravity – meaning that no pumps are needed.  In total, around 3,000 tonnes of pipework and fittings will be laid in the tunnel.

Mizzi noted that there are going to be some inconveniences as part of this problem, but said that the WSC team was doing all it could to move on quickly with the project to reduce inconvenience both in terms of service and in terms of noise whilst tunnelling.

The tunnel is a part of what is an unprecedented investment into the water sector and forms part of the WSC’s ‘Net Zero Impact Utility’ project.  It is also part-financed through the EU Cohesion funds.  Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Aaron Farrugia, who was also present at the Reverse Osmosis plant, said that the tunnel was part of a holistic plan by the WSC which aims to improve the security of water supply for the Maltese islands, to improve the quality of water and the sustainable management of water resources and to mix various resources with the aim of reaching maximum efficiency for the use of resources and improving quality of life.

Farrugia said that even on a European Union level, Malta is improving significantly when it comes to water. Other countries are looking towards Malta as a benchmark and example for how to manage and use this resource, he noted.

The total value of the major project amounts to over €100 million co-financed by EU funds. Through EU funds, a number of polishing plants were opened in various localities, thereby improving the quality of drinking water for Maltese citizens, as well as quality of second class water for agriculture in Malta.

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