The River Basin Management Plan – or Water Catchment Management Plan, in the case of Malta – is prepared every six years in line with the EU Water Framework Directive, which requires an integrated approach to the management of water environment at a river basin/water catchment district level.
The water catchment district is an area of land where water from rain drains into a body of water such as groundwater, inland surface water and coastal waters. Due to its size Malta has one water catchment district and one Water Catchment Management Plan, covering the whole of its territory and the different water bodies.
The Water Catchment Management Plan gives details of all the water bodies in the area, the environmental objectives established for those water bodies and the measures adopted to achieve them. Significant emphasis is also placed on ensuring a participatory approach in the development of the WCMP, which entails the active involvement and consultation of stakeholders in the different phases of the process.
Malta is currently in the process of implementing its Second Water Catchment Management Plan and preparing its Third Water Catchment Management Plan, which will cover the period 2022 – 2027.
Third Water Catchment Management Plan
Malta’s Third Water Catchment Management Plan will cover the period 2022 – 2027, and is to be prepared and reported by the 22nd March 2022.
The process leading to the formulation of the Plan involves three phases, which will each be subject to public consultation of six months, to ensure that the plan takes due consideration of stakeholders’ expectations for the national water environment:
• the timetable for the formulation of the Plan
• the identification of Significant Water Management Issues
• the Draft Plan that will include an assessment of the status of Malta’s inland and coastal water bodies and propose measures to achieve or maintain good status in these waters.
The main consultation tool throughout each of the three phases of consultation will be web-based and undertaken through the official Government consultation portal: www.konsultazzjoni.gov.mt, where stakeholders will have the opportunity to send their written comments to a dedicated consultation e-mail. The consultation process will also be supported by thematic conferences and workshops to enable a direct discussion with stakeholders.
Second Water Catchment Management Plan
Malta’s Second Water Catchment Management Plan covers the period 2016 – 2021. This Second Plan assesses the new challenges that have been identified through implementation of the First Water Catchment Management Plan. Furthermore an increase in knowledge on the state of our surface waters due to better monitoring results have enabled additional water management issues to be identified. Thus the second plan aimed to target water management issues which Malta failed to identify or deal with under the first cycle. It proposes actions or measures needed to deal with the various significant issues identified in the plan and revises the 2011 set objectives for those waters that were deemed to be at risk of not achieving good water status by 2015.
The implementation of the Second WCMP is being supported by a LIFE IP project led by the Energy and Water Agency and co-financed under the EU LIFE Programme.
First Water Catchment Management Plan
Malta’s First Water Catchment Management Plan covers the period 2010 – 2015 and was adopted in March 2011. It represented the most significant milestone in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Malta at that time, and provided a summary of the implementation process of the WFD since Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2004. Instead of focusing on groundwaters and surface waters individually, it is holistic in its approach since it considers the integrated management of groundwaters and surface waters at the water catchment scale.
The Plan was developed following extensive consultations with identified stakeholders throughout 2007 and 2009. It included measures for achieving the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive and spelt out the steps needed to protect, enhance and improve the water environment of Malta and Gozo.
First Water Catchment Management Plan