Many Maltese homes have a well. This give us the opportunity to reduce the pressure on our natural water resources if wells are maintained and used, properly.
As a small island with an arid climate and long dry summers, we need to be doing more to store and use water properly. As a nation we did this successfully in the past. Think of those who built Hagar Qim or Mnajdra. They dug out water wells to collect rainwater. Some can still be found close by at Tal-Misqa, which actually means ‘watering place’ – several large underground, bell-shaped reservoirs, circa 3600BC and 1500BC. Water conservation is nothing new but as the awareness for the need to save our natural resources grows, this may be the right moment to give your well some attention.
First off… well water shouldn’t be used for consumption (drinking and cooking) or showering. It could contain pollutants which it picked up before ending up in your well. Boiling it doesn’t work either, as it may contain certain pollutants that are resistant to high temperatures. But there is still so much well water can be used for:
- Watering plants
- Washing floors and windows
- Washing clothes
- Washing cars
- Toilet flush water
- Ponds and fish tanks
That could add up to half your home water use, reducing your mains water consumption by half, and resulting in a big reduction on your water bill.
Some maintenance tips to carry out for well owners :
- Roofs, pathways and garden floors should have enough slope to direct any water towards your well.
- Avoid painting roofs and inside gutters. If you really must do it, use non-toxic paint.
- Clean your roof, pathways, gutters and pipes before the rainy season.
- Wells should be always covered.
- Inflow and outflow pipes should be screened with netting to prevent insects, birds or small animals getting in.
- Any outflow pipes should be placed above the bottom level to avoid any settled particles leaving the well.
- Every few years, check your well for leaks, and have it cleaned.
- Use it frequently, so that your water doesn’t stagnate and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
It really is that simple to keep your well clean, so if you have one please do use it. It’ll save you money and relieve a lot of pressure off our natural resources.
For more information visit water.org.mt.
Water – Be the change.