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MALTATODAY 16 October 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 16 OCTOBER 2022 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt JAMES DEBONO NEITHER government nor the opposition are outrightly pro- posing a pricing mechanism for ground water extracted by com- mercial companies like concrete plants. But while the government is hinting at future 'measures and incentives' to encourage the sustainable use of the resource by the commercial sector for the first time ever the Nation- alist opposition has proposed "disincentives" the shape of 'planning gain contributions" and the pricing of new water produced from sewage treat- ment when this is delivered to non-farmers. Information tabled in parlia- ment showed that the number of boreholes extracting 'free' groundwater for concrete plants had shot up from a sin- gle borehole in 2014, to 20 in 2021. The amount of water ex- tracted from the water table to produce concrete shot up from 4 million litres in 2014 to 62 million litres in 2021. Between 2014 and 2021 a staggering 403 million litres were extracted for free. A spokesperson for energy minister Miriam Dalli told MaltaToday that the government is consider- ing "measures and incentives" to encourage sustainable use of this natural water resource by commercial sectors, includ- ing industry and construction. "These actions will be an- nounced in due course," the spokesperson said when asked whether the government is considering any kind of pric- ing system for the extraction of ground water for commercial and non-agricultural purposes. Stanley Zammit, an engineer and the PN's spokesperson for planning, research and inno- vation, whose question in par- liament put the spotlight on the vast amount of water consumed for free by the construction industry, has come up with a more concrete proposal. Zammit made it clear that in view of Malta's current designation "as the most wa- ter-stressed country in Europe" and "the deterioration of the groundwater quality and quan- tity", the government "must disincentivise the extraction of groundwater for commercial and industrial (non-agricultur- al) use". Zammit said large-scale activ- ities like concrete plants which are regulated through an en- vironmental permit issued by Concrete plants have sucked up 402 million litres of groundwater – for free. That's the equivalent of 200 million bottles of water. But should they not start paying for what is a scarce resource? Concrete plants take 400 million litres of groundwater: free "Government must disincentivise the extraction of groundwater for commercial and industrial use... Malta is the most water-stressed country in Europe" Stanley Zammit

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