EU approves record €150 million funding for water project
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EU approves record €150 million funding for water project

Plans to improve desalination plant efficiency and overhaul distribution systems

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

The EU has approved €150 million in funding for a Water Services Corporation initiative, the largest ever Cohesion Policy financing for a project in Malta.

The project was one of 25 large infrastructure projects in 10 member states that will received a total of €4 billion from the Cohesion Policy funds.

The ‘Net Zero Impact Utility’ project is being described “as a blueprint in terms of water sustainability”, the corporation said, affecting the way water is produced and distributed across Malta and Gozo.

“The approach is so holistic that it will not only lead to a drastic improvement in groundwater conservation, but it will also lead to better energy efficiency and an improved product for the general public. The €130-150 million investment balances the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability and will result in a better quality of life also in a context of a rapidly growing economy,” it added.

What is being done?

The capacity and efficiency of seawater desalination plants is being upgraded to produce more water with less energy. The corporation’s ground water extraction will be reduced by 4 billion litres per year. A new reverse osmosis plant is also being built in Gozo with a production capacity of 9 million litres per day.

There will also be an overhaul of the distribution and blending system, central to which is a €33 million tunnel from Pembroke to Ta’ Qali. Major upgrades are also being undertaken on the sewage network with new treatment technology being introduced.

Watch: WSC plans a tap water revolution

A maximum of 7 billion litres a year of recycled water are also being made available to the agricultural community through over 70 kilometres of network and over 400 automated dispensers.

Who else benefitted?

The other member states to benefit are Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Romania. The projects cover a wide range of areas: health, transport, research, environment and energy. With national co-financing, the total investment in these projects amounts to €8 billion.

Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: “These 25 projects are as many examples of how the EU is working to improve everyday life for our citizens from better drinking water to faster rail transport and modern hospitals. In the current budget period, I have adopted 258 large infrastructure projects worth €32 billion of EU funds; they are, in a way, the ambassadors of Cohesion Policy and I'm proud of each and every one of them.”

• Large infrastructure projects – so-called “major projects”– are worth over €50 million of Cohesion Policy funds (€75 million in the case of transport projects).

• In the 2014-2020 programming period, 258 major projects have received EU funding.

• The EU contribution to these projects amounts to €32 billion, which is half their total value.

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