Sunday Times of Malta, 2nd November 2008, by Ivan Camilleri –
Malta’s groundwater resources are under severe stress and might run out in the coming years, a new scientific report produced by the World Wildlife Fund has warned.
The island has one of the highest water footprints in the world according to the ‘2008 Living Planet Report’, which measures the impact of human consumption on the world’s water resources.
The WWF report reveals that despite the island’s natural water limitations, the Maltese are not contributing towards saving water in the world. In fact it is estimated that every person in Malta consumes about two million litres of fresh water a year, amounting to three quarters of the water in an Olympic-sized pool.
Other high water consumers are the US, Greece, Malaysia, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The water footprint of a country is measured as the total volume of water used globally to produce the goods and services consumed by its inhabitants. It includes water drawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers that is used in agriculture, industry and for domestic purposes, as well as the water from rainfall that is used to grow crops.
Due to the heavy dependence on importation, Malta’s water footprint is contrary to the norm. In fact, out of the two million litres per capita required by the Maltese, 1.6 million is connected to imported goods and services.
Malta is extracting much more water than it can produce and this might lead to severe problems and possible groundwater shortages in the next few years.