First reverse osmosis plant in Gozo finally operational

The new reverse osmosis plant at Ħondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo. (Photo: Daniel Cilia)

The first reverse osmosis plant at Ħondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo, costing some €11m and partly funded by the European Union, has this past week been finally inaugurated.

The facility, which can create 9,000 cubic metres of water per day, is situated in the same structure that formerly housed a water distillation factory. In 1971, the installation there then produced 2,270 cubic metres per day, but it was shuttered a few years later when fuel costs skyrocketed. The massive structure has been vacant for 30 years. Work was taken in hand in 2018 and it has been now refurbished as part of the current co-EU-funded new project.

Within the first hours of its operation, the plant improved access, supply and water quality for residents in Gozo. The Ħondoq ir-Rummien plant will be using modern pumps which will consume less energy. With state-of-the-art technology of remineralisation, the water will have more minerals and will be clearer, thus being of better quality. 

This system will be fully automated, and the plant will be controlled and operated from remote sites of WSC, with the least manual interventions. This project will target the Sustainable Development Measure SDG6 – access to water.

The Water Services Corporation (WSC) operates the new installation at this facility, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela. Its functioning will guarantee that Gozo is self-sufficient in water supply and the sister island will no longer be dependent on Malta for its supply of high quality water for households and businesses.

The plant which is equipped with modern energy efficient pumps was another step in making Gozo a centre of excellence in the environment and the digital transformation, Dr Abela said. He added that the new reverse osmosis is one of the most efficient in the world and Gozo will even be supplying water to Malta. “This government aims to achieve the same independence in energy through renewable sources,” Abela said.

Energy Minister, Dr Miriam Dalli described the plant as “historic”. She said that “this is the first reverse osmosis plant in Gozo that will give autonomy to this island in water production,” and that the plant will also strengthen sustainability in water use while ensuring a good quality water supply for the residents of Gozo. “The efficiency of this plant is also reflected in electricity consumption and the cost of production is lower compared to existing plants. In addition, the more we improve the quality of tap water, the more we will be reducing the use of plastic bottles,” Dalli said. 

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri and the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Dr Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, were also present for the inauguration.