Europe’s first nationwide groundwater quality testing system launched in Malta

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 May, 2021 at 12:47 pm by Andre Camilleri

A nationwide testing system installed underground on agricultural land is set to study, monitor, and improve the quality of groundwater in a project which sets to decrease chemical pollution for water.

This is the first national project of its kind in Europe, being led by the Energy and Water Agency within the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development, and partially co-financed through the European Cohesion Funds.

This innovative project is being done in collaboration with Sensoil, who created the technology. The water monitoring system will analyse the quality of the groundwater. Before implementing the project in Malta, the company has been researching for over 15 years and has worked on more than 100 sites globally.

The monitoring systems are going to be spread over 14 agricultural sites around Malta, making use of different agricultural practices. Each identified site uses different agricultural practices so that the data analysed covers a different typology of agricultural land.

The system will analyse the water which goes through the soil and rocks before reaching groundwater, thus monitoring any levels of pollution that may be found in the water. This will provide farmers with the necessary information on when and how to apply fertilizers, leading to more sustainable practices.

During a visit at one of the sites, Minister for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli remarked on the importance of innovative projects. Minister Dalli explained that such projects were in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development targets, SDG6 in particular, on sustainable water management and quality of water. Minister Dalli emphasised the importance of more research opportunities on this subject, in particular with the University of Malta and MCAST.

“This project will help farmers to identify water contamination, and this will result in better quality water with an immediate effect,” said Minister Dalli.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that there are ongoing initiatives with an investment of €24 million, co-financed with European funds, to create awareness on the general use and the importance of water and its conservation of this resource. Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi concluded that, “This water monitoring system is a series of initiatives to study the quality of our water and how it can be improved.”

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