The development process of the second River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) has confirmed that there are still significant challenges ahead for Malta to achieve the good status objectives of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). These challenges are mainly linked to severe water scarcity and drought conditions, high population density, high urbanisation rates, saline water intrusion, contamination, and vulnerability of coastal waters.


The main aim of the LIFE-IP RBMP-MALTA project is to support the implementation of the second RBMP through the establishment of an integrated framework for the optimised management of all water resources on the Maltese islands. To achieve this, it will seek to address the key horizontal challenges identified during a gap analysis undertaken as part of the development process for the second RBMP. The challenges will be addressed through the implementation of best practice, demonstration, pilot study, and capacity building actions.

The key horizontal challenges (i.e. the specific project objectives) are to:

  • Increase the awareness of the need to conserve and protect water resources and dependent terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems;
  • Facilitate the uptake of measures, through demonstration actions and cases of best practices in addition to fiscal incentives, and to build up the confidence of stakeholders and water users in the solutions proposed;
  • Improve the institutional approach to measuring implementation, achieving a high level of institutional and stakeholder dialogue; and
  • Reduce uncertainty in water body status assessments through improved knowledge of water-related processes, ecosystems and ecosystem services, as well as on interactions with anthropogenic activity, with a view to inform appropriate ecosystem-based management regimes and increase the trust of stakeholders in the status assessments.

Expected results

  • Reduced domestic water demand by around 5%, thereby generating annual savings of around 850,000m3 in the municipal water supply;
  • A net increase in the mean annual recharge of around 1.2 million m3, coming from alternative water sources such as rainwater runoff and highly-cleaned treated effluents;
  • Increased capacity of wastewater treatment plants to produce highly-cleaned water and increased use of this treated wastewater (instead of groundwater);
  • Reduced flood risk and improved groundwater status;
  • Increased awareness on the challenges facing the water sector; and
  • Optimised management of coastal ecosystems.

In addition, the project will strive to:

  • Conduct water audits in 25% of Malta’s households;
  • Reach 25% of Malta’s school population every year;
  • Restore 23 ha of Malta’s coastal wetland area;
  • Restore 30 ha of Malta’s valley habitat (30ha);
  • Develop 3 systems of sustainable urban drainage.

In addition to the IP budget, the project itself will facilitate the coordinated use of €168,939,966 of complementary funding from ERDF, CF, EMFF, EAFRD, INTERREG, national and private funds, as applicable.

ERA’s role in the project

The Environment and Resources Authority, as an associated beneficiary of the project, will be leading a number of actions as detailed below:

ACTION A.6: Development of a monitoring strategy for contaminants of emerging concern
  1. Identification of Indicator Parameters in four water categories (surface waters, groundwater, storm water runoff and new water);
  2. Development of a Monitoring Strategy and Programme for each water category.
ACTION A.7: Development of a hydrographic model for Malta’s marine waters

A report identifying data input needs for the selected model and the required monitoring systems beyond the current monitoring regimes.

ACTION C.13: Restoration of one of the coastal wetlands
  1. Hydrological and coastal erosion studies;
  2. Final Technical Report on the implementation of coastal engineering works.
ACTION C.14: Anchoring and Mooring Surveys
  1. Report of spatio-temporal analysis, and related shapefiles, of anchoring/mooring activity by different types of vessel;
  2. Report describing the quantitative assessment of impacts of mooring/anchoring activity on seabed habitats and related shapefiles of impact (including intensity) mapping;
  3. Report of identified management options prioritised on the basis of habitat sensitivity and socio-economic considerations and including administrative management processes associated with the management options;
  4. Implementation and monitoring report of selected option/s on a pilot basis;
  5. Long-term implementation plan of proven management options, including definition of administrative management systems.
ACTION C.16: Hydrographic model simulations for Malta’s marine waters to quantify and investigate pressures in the marine environment
  1. Baseline hydrographical data to characterise the regime of Malta’s marine waters developed to the extent possible on the basis of essential elements of a marine observing and modelling system for the Maltese Islands;
  2. Technical report on outcome of numerical modelling tools used to simulate, assess and map the extent to which coastal waters are affected by storm-water run-off, land-based pollution and sediment loads at key nodes on the Maltese Islands;
  3. Technical report outlining the assessment of hydrographic pathways which may lead to contamination of Malta’s marine environment from transboundary sources, on the basis of numerical modelling tools.
ACTION C.18: Monitoring for emerging pollutants of potential concern
  1. Report explaining the results of the screening monitoring.
  2. Report describing in-depth investigative monitoring results.

Project Details

PROJECT TITLE RBMP Malta – Optimising the implementation of the 2nd RBMP in the Maltese River Basin District
DURATION 01-JAN-2018 to 31-DEC -2025 (8 years)
TOTAL BUDGET €17,000,000


LEAD Energy and Water Agency
PARTNERS Environment and Resources Authority; Water Services Corporation; Ministry for Energy and Water Management; Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (formerly known as: Ministry for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change); Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects; Ministry for Gozo.

Further information on the project can be accessed through the following link:

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