Local farmers can become water champions and benefit from up to €5,000 as part of a scheme that will help them through concrete support in making water resources more efficient and also provide them with the equipment needed to put these measures into place. This will be done through several measures implemented in their fields, among a free assessment of their premises, existing water consumption, and how water is collected. They will also learn about ways to make their water consumption more efficient and reduce water wastage.
This scheme is part of the recently launched national campaign for conservation of water, WATER Be the Change and was announced by the Minister for Energy and Water Management, Joe Mizzi in a press conference together with Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Clint Camilleri.
The visits will be done by specialised officers, were they will evaluate the water consumption on site and discuss alternative measures, such as improving existing irrigation system and installing soil moisture sensors or rehabilitation works on reservoirs, among others.
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.
During the press conference, Energy and Water Agency CEO Manuel Sapiano went on to explain that this scheme will offer support up to 150 farmers, animal husbandry and food producers 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.
Manuel Sapiano also explained that after all works are commissioned, a two-year progress follow-up will be done on the reduction on water consumption. This will be done in order to determine the water saved and also record all cost cuttings after the measure was implemented.
Minister Mizzi said that all farmers and food producers will have the opportunity to apply for this scheme. He explained how the agriculture sector is often the main consumer of all water resources in Malta, 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.
Parliamentary Secretary Camilleri, who was also present for the press conference, stressed about the importance of water conservation within the sector while he appealed to farmers and producers to take part in this scheme.
The National Water Conservation Campaign 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