The project aims at the rehabilitation of the upper Chadwick Lakes (Wied il-Qlejjgha) area. The project will provide a venue for niche markets of historical and natural tourism, educational area, including rural trekking, thereby enhancing the recreational potential of the Chadwick Lakes. Moreover, the investments undertaken will restore the valley biodiversity as well as the original valley profile to enhance water storage, thereby contributing towards a larger catchment and improved overall water quality.
The project aims to primarily target tourists and the general public but it is also expected to go beyond that and reach out to school children to visit and learn on the biodiversity of the Maltese Islands. It is also intended to create opportunities for the involvement of NGOs to use the project site as a pilot site for other activities and/or projects for research and educational purposes.
The total amount invested, will be that of approximately €5 million, covering necessary studies, works and educational initiatives as part of the regeneration.
The Chadwick Lakes are an ideal location, rich in historical culture and environmental beauty providing an example of an aquatic environment in an otherwise arid landscape, which can be used to promote Malta as a natural heritage tourist destination. This niche has long gone untapped for its potential to attract tourists to Malta. This site, the second largest water catchment of the Maltese Islands, is currently in a derelict state. The primary objective of the project will be that of regenerating and valorising the Wied il‑Qlejgħa valley, including the Chadwick Lakes, by creating an innovative venue for natural heritage tourism whilst generating sensitivity towards biodiversity.
Thus, the site in question is identified as having an important historical heritage related to the management of water resources. The project will help create an awareness of the important water culture of the Rabat-Dingli area which, up to the late 1800’s, was the primary natural source of municipal water in the Maltese Islands. The information points being proposed under this project along the site and the trekking trail will thus present historical facts and popular stories related to water management in the area.
Sites of Intervention & Project Description
The sites where different interventions will take place are spread on an area of circa 5,000 sq.m. in Wied il‑Qlejgħa valley, stretching from Fiddien Bridge at the lands known as Tal-Ħafa and extending to the second Chadwick dam at the lands known as Tal-Mazzarat. Prior to this investment an intervention for the rehabilitation of the rainwater harvesting capacity of Wied Mgarr ix-Xini in Gozo will also be used to gain technical expertise in relation to the development of the project’s integrated valley management strategy.The project has kick-started with a preliminary assessment to provide an in-depth survey of the geomorphological and ecological features of the project site at Chadwick Lakes.The next stage is the implementation of the works on the ground which will be carried out in three (3) phases.
The first phase will include amongst other interventions, the development of a reception area in the lands known as Tal-Ħafa, adjacent to Fiddien Bridge, the removal/control of alien and/invasive species in the valley course and restoration works on the historic stone bridge crossing the Wied il-Qlejgħa. The second phase will include the same type of works, including restoration works on the second historic stone bridge (Tas‑Salib) crossing the Wied il-Qlejgħa site. Similar works will also be carried out in the third phase in the area of Ta’ Slampa, adjacent to the second Chadwick dam at the lower end of the project. The latter site will also serve as an introductory area to visitors who reach the site from the road beneath Imtarfa.