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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LIfe +: Making business the key to sustainable water management

Local development, Environment, Economy - Finances,Corporations,Administrations States,SMEs,

News While the history of Malta has been shaped by the sea, the future of this Mediterranean island may very well be determined by the sustainability of its freshwater supplies.

The country is one of the driest in the world, and what little natural freshwater exists is contained in underground aquifers that only get replenished following rainfall.
This is why the EU-funded LIFE+ Investing in Water project has been of such importance. The initiative, led by the Malta Business Bureau (MBB), involved more than 130 enterprises in implementing best practice in water saving. It was recently announced as the runner-up in the ‘Supporting the development of green markets and resource efficiency’ category of this year’s European Enterprises Promotion Awards.
Above all, this project has been about ensuring the long-term sustainability of Malta. The fact of the matter is that island’s natural resources simply cannot meet demand. Malta’s water consumption is conservatively estimated to be around 65 million cubic metres per year, with only 23 million cubic metres of water available underground. Given this situation, effective and efficient water management must become an absolute priority.
The project began in early 2012 by carrying out a set of water audits with around 40 enterprises operating in various sectors. These audits highlighted where water could be saved. The solutions developed have since been published in a brochure, which has been distributed to businesses and hotels across Malta and made freely available through the project’s website. Another key strength of this initiative has been its ability to offer enterprises individual consultations on identifying possible water-saving solutions.
The project, which was completed in March 2014, has resulted in the adoption of water saving measures by businesses across the island, which will save an estimated 141 million litres of water every year. Enterprises have thus been able to reducing their operating costs and have a positive impact on the environment at the same time. MBB CEO Joe Tanti has credited Maltese enterprises for driving forward environmental sustainability.
One example of good practice can be seen in APS Bank’s commitment to sustainable development at its new head office. The bank decided to invest in a holistic on-site water conservation programme, reducing operational costs and helping to conserve scarce national resources. Similarly, the Hilton hotel has installed a sewage treatment plant.
The importance and applicability of the Investing in Water project were key factors in the recognition received at this year’s European Enterprises Promotion Award. The project received the runner up prize in the supporting resource efficiency category, which recognised policies and initiatives designed to support SME access to green markets, and help improve their resource efficiency through, for example, green skills development and matchmaking as well as funding.
The Investing in Water project received 50 % co-financing under the EU’s LIFE+ funding programme, with the Maltese government the main co-financier.

Source :  Press of the European Commission

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