Integrated River Basin Management

The Energy & Water Agency aims to enhance Malta’s water environment while ensuring the sustainable use and development of its water resources. To achieve this, available water resources need to be managed well, and it is important to encourage local engagement to sustain them.

Paving the way for this comprehensive and participatory approach to water management are the European Water Directives, which also call for the development of River Basin Management Plans to achieve the EU’s environmental objectives in the water sector.

Implementing the Water Framework Directive

To address the environmental objectives set out by the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Energy & Water Agency has enacted the 2nd River Basin Management Plan (2nd RBMP).

Malta’s 2nd RBMP includes a programme of measures to address the country’s water management, including focused management plans for extreme events, such as droughts and floods. (Download an extract of the plan here.)

In implementing the WFD, Malta must also prepare its 3rd River Basin Management Plan (3rd RBMP), which will provide a status assessment of inland and coastal waters in the Maltese Islands and identify the measures necessary to ensure consistently good conditions in these water bodies.

The River Basin Management Plans involve extensive stakeholder consultation and, in the case of the 3rd RBMP, the WFD requires specific consultation exercises that focus on the project’s timeline and the identification of significant water management issues.

The general public and key stakeholders were encouraged to submit their feedback during these consultation exercises via meetings and an online portal. The report identifying key significant water management issues encouraged stakeholders to submit their feedback on the identified issues online. The input received is assisting plans for the 3rd RBMP, a draft of which will be made available for public consultation too.

Implementing the Floods Directive

Through the Floods Directive, the EU entrusts all member states to assess and manage their flood risk. This is to be achieved by producing flood risk management plans to reduce the adverse consequences of flooding on human health, the environment, cultural heritage, and economic activity.

Member states are required to update their flood risk management plans for each river basin district every six years, initially through the development of a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) and, subsequently, through Flood Hazard Maps (FHM) and Flood Risk Maps (FRM).

Malta’s updated PFRA is the initial step in developing its 2nd Flood Risk Management Plan. The PFRA identifies Areas with Potentially Significant Flood Risk (APSFR) through examining records and studies on recent and long-term developments, floods that have occurred during the last planning cycle, and the impact of climate change.

The updated PFRA has enabled the development of updated FHMs and FRMs that identify the risk of floods in specific areas. The technical report detailing the approach adopted to develop these maps is available . The FHMs and FRMs, which will be continually updated, will help guide the development of measures for risk aversion within Malta’s 2nd Flood Risk Management Plan.

The implementation of the Floods Directive is coupled with a process of public consultation. Interested stakeholders are invited to submit their comments on the potentially significant flood risk areas identified in the PFRA and the FHMs and FRMs to water-energywateragency@gov.mt.

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