Yes, flooding is the present governments’ fault!
Who has been in government for almost a quarter of a century?
Who set-up a Malta Resources Authority that has been promising a Water Policy for almost ten years without ever delivering?
Who has repeatedly promised the building of specialised tunnels to mitigate flooding?
Everyone knows that the answer is the Nationalist Party, and yet sycophants continue to criticize the Labour Party for passing comments to the effect that the Government has not done enough towards flood relief.
The construction of specialised tunnels to mitigate flooding was mentioned way back in 2006 by the then Resource Minister Ninu Zammit and the idea was to direct the flow of water into the sea. There was never any mention of saving the water by directing it into underground reservoirs. This seems to be anathema to the current government who built the Sewage Treatment Plant at Il-Qammiegh which is dumping tens of thousands of litres of treated water into the sea without even considering its re-use.
But the problem goes back even further.
Mintoff’s Labour Party in the seventies had started an intensive campaign to rehabilitate and clean valleys, and construct new water catchment areas using the much derided Pijunieri u Dirghajn il-Maltin. This resulted in a network of rehabilitated valleys in which millions of litres of water could be stored and made available to farmers. This meant that they had a good supply of water way beyond the end of the rainy season in February and March and stretching to May and even June!
Successive Nationalist Governments never built upon Labour’s work and did precious little to continue upgrading water catchment areas although they had to keep cleaning them. In fact, water catchment areas under the Nationalist administrations from 1987 to 1996 had allowed new roads to block reservoir inlets and allowed catchment areas to fall into disrepair. This was glaringly apparent after Labour was elected in 1996 and had to start all over again upgrading catchment areas and starting by rehabilitating Qlejgha Valley. Extensive work was done on strengthening valley walls, setting-up picnic areas, street furniture and swings on one side and putting up informative panels about the areas ecological importance and rich biodiversity of the area.
Once, the Nationalist Party was re-elected in 1996, they purposely chose to neglect the site and left it to rot!
The idea to sink tunnels to direct run-off into the sea was resurrected about a year ago by Rural Minister George Pullicino, and yet, the MRA still has not published a Water Policy. This pathological lack of planning was highlighted by experts such as Inginier Cremona and architect Carmel Cacopardo, and yet, it all fell on deaf ears.
Come last week and Malta was hit by the yearly flood and Ninu Zammit’s promise that the government was going to spend 80 million on flood mitigation was conveniently forgotten by pro-Nationalist opinion makers and sycophants who chose to criticize the Labour Party instead. It seems that Gonzipn prefers to throw money at the new Parliament to continue to cultivate his ego rather than protect so many citizens who were badly hit by the floods.
The construction of more roads and thousands of flats and villas will continue to increase the severity of flooding as water run-off struggles to find new avenues of escape; and yet flood mitigation has lagged behind such development and so, there is little hope of controlling the yearly flood.
Water conservation and flood mitigation have been almost abandoned by a government whose lack of planning in such areas is reaching crises proportions, not only in the area of flood control but in the essential need to recharge the water-table and control freshwater extraction. It’s a real pity that if the Nationalist government never thought about planning in such an area. Gradual yearly investments in rain-water storage would have gone a long way to help control water shortage, decrease the country’s dependence on energy intensive Reverse Osmosis Plants and help rehabilitate and protect underground sources of water that are so essential.
Unfortunately, it’s what you expect from a government who does not know the meaning of the word PLANNING.
Yes, the Labour Party can mitigate the problem by actually constructing such tunnels and building huge reservoirs whose run-off is dumped into the sea. It can help solve the problem by keeping valleys clean, making sure catchment areas are in good repair and rehabilitating all those reservoirs that were clogged by tarmac and debris due to the Nationalist government atrocious road planning.