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Water, or rather the lack of it, is expected to become more of a problem for countries in southern Europe in the years ahead.
Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain have been relying increasingly on desalinated water at great cost for their public water supply. Resources are squeezed nearly dry in these countries to meet water demand for tourism and irrigated agriculture in areas where the water table has been overexploited.
Most of the southern Member States already have their own legislative frameworks for reuse of water recovered from sewage, each with a different approach.
Yet lack of harmonisation on quality standards for reused water could pose trade barriers for agricultural goods from areas irrigated with water reclaimed from waste water. A request has been made by these countries to the European Commission for an instrument that will set out standards for reused water.
“It will probably come in the form of a directive,” says Manuel Sapiano, chief technical officer at the government’s Water Policy Unit.
Speaking last month at a seminar on water organised by the Cleaner Technology Centre and the European Youth Parliament for Water, Sapiano said that the use of “new water” could reduce Malta’s dependency on ground water by 2021. He said this project was aimed at producing seven million cubic metres yearly “to replace groundwater extraction”.
In its assessment of the careful use of treated urban waste water as a “tolerable risk”, the Commission assures us it can be as safe as flying. If harmonised standards are set in place in an affordable way we should not find obstacles to reusing the urban waste water we produce in various ways.
|Source of information||timesofmalta|
|Subject(s)||POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT|