€750,000 investment for the conservation of water within the agriculture sector
Working towards a more efficient water system for the agriculture sector
The local agriculture sector has the opportunity to take centrestage in the recently launched national campaign for the conservation of water, Water-Be the Change. One of the initiatives to kick start this campaign is a nationwide expression of interest aimed at providing the agriculture sector with concrete support in making water resources more efficient, through several measures implemented in their fields. This was announced earlier today during a news conference where the Minister for Energy and Water Management, Joe Mizzi announced that farmers will have the opportunity to apply for this scheme which is offering an investment for up to €5,000 for any installations and works needed to put these measures into place.
Manuel Sapiano, CEO for the Energy and Water Agency, went on to explain that this scheme will offer support to up to 150 farmers to utilize their water resources in a more efficient and sustainable way, ensuring better use of water consumption and collection, as well as reducing the cost of production of water for this vital sector. He added that these initiatives aimed at the agriculture sector will benefit from a total investment of €750,000 at no cost to them whatsoever.
In his speech Minister Mizzi explained how in terms of water consumption, the agriculture sector is often the main consumer of all water resources in Malta which makes sense, given that this is also the sector responsible for producing our food. He explained how these interventions would ensure better use of water consumption and collection as well as reduce the cost of water; a big expense for this vital sector. “It is absolutely essential that Government continues to work hand in hand with this sector to ensure that farmers have proper and efficient access to water sources,” added the Minister.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Clint Camilleri, who was also present stressed the importance of water conservation and wastage within the sector while appealing to farmers and producers to take part in this scheme. “We always did our best to be close to our farmers and give them support whenever they faced difficult situations such as when they were hit with structural damages due to bad weather,” said Parliamentary Secretary Camilleri.
Eligible applicants will get a free assessment of their premises, existing water consumption, and how water is collected, and will learn about ways to make their water consumption more efficient. Officers from the WATER – Be the Change Campaign will visit the agricultural holding to evaluate the water consumption on site and discuss what measures can be undertaken in order to improve water efficiency. Among them, simple measures such as improving existing irrigation system and installing soil moisture sensors or more intensive measures such as the rehabilitation works on a rainwater harvesting reservoir.
Following the audit, each case will be discussed under the guidance of a professional engineer and should the recommendations be feasible, and agreed upon by the applicant, works will be commissioned, implemented and monitored, free of charge. These successful applicants will become Malta’s ‘Water Champions’, providing a tangible example to all on how water conservation schemes can be implemented in practice in an efficient manner.
Those interested in being part of this positive change and in understanding the water consumed in their industry, can apply now through www.water.org.mt or www.ilma.org.mt or visit the National Water Conservation Centre, GĦAJN in Rabat.
The National Water Conservation Campaign project is part-financed by the European Union under the Cohesion Fund – European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020. Further information can be found on www.water.org.mt.