tap water in malta and best water filter for malta

Can I drink the tap water in Malta?

Can you drink the tap water in Malta? What are the potential contaminants and issues? What is the best water filter for Malta? What about bottled water in Malta?

In this article we will look at where the water in Malta comes from, how it is treated and delivered to homes through the pipes, the quality of the tap water and alternatives including water filters for Malta.

Where does the Tap water in Malta come from?

Malta has around 550mm of rainfall per year, a very low amount meaning that water is in short supply. It’s a small island with no rivers, lakes, or reservoirs, therefore most of the running water now comes from desalinated sea water.

The water supply as a whole consists of a mix of extracted water from the groundwater aquifer, and desalinated sea water through reverse osmosis. Desalinated water makes up 57% and the other 43% is mainly from groundwater. The quality of Malta’s groundwater has been deteriorating over the years due to over-extraction and pollution from farms, necessitating that it be blended with desalinated water to reach EU standards. Groundwater deterioration is a combination of salt water leaking in from the sea and nitrates resulting from livestock farms and the use of fertilisers.

On the plus side the desalinated water has improved considerably in the past 10 years including quality, cost and environment impact.

Birkirkara, Qormi, Mosta and Żabbar all get their water from WSCs three RO plants in Pembroke, Cirkewwa and Ghar Lapsi combined with ground water supply.

Read more about desalinated water in Malta, water conservation and ground water. https://www.eea.europa.eu/signals/signals-2018-content-list/articles/interview-2014-malta-water-scarcity

How is the tap water in Malta treated?

In the 1980s, Malta’s government made its first investment in Reverse Osmosis (RO) Desalination {https://maltaprofile.info/article/meeting-maltas-water-challenge}. The local water supplier Malta Water Services Corporation (WSC) now operates three RO plants. Despite being an energy-intensive and expensive technology, desalination has proven to be effective in lessening the amount of groundwater extractions. The desalination process removes particulates and contaminants but leaves it heavy in minerals.

In addition to RO all tap water in Malta is treated with activated carbon and chlorine for disinfection. The water plants meet EU and WHO standards for water treatment which means that the water is potable according to these international measures.

The quality and safety of the water we produce is constantly checked by the WSC laboratory. Every year over 5100 samples are collected including 54,500 physical, chemical and bacteriological tests.

Is tap water in Malta safe to drink?

The water that leaves the WSC water treatment plants is safe to drink according to EU standards. However, there are potential issues including corrosion/leaching from pipes, chlorine by-products and microplastics. Residents and travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

The taste of the tap water is slightly salty combined with the chlorine disinfection taste. In conclusion not great which is why over half of the island's population and most tourists drink bottled water.

Chlorine by-products such as THMs are normally not considered a major risk but in a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, research identified Malta's tap water is linked to a fifth of bladder cancer cases due to exposure to chemicals. Official reports still say the tap water is safe to drink in Malta.

Boiling tap water does not remove the minerals or chlorine by-products that may be in the tap water, which means the heavy mineral content might ruin the taste of your tea or coffee.

What is the best water filter for Malta?

Thankfully a high quality water filter will solve all the potential tap water issues highlighted above. The best water filter for Malta according to independent reviews is TAPP 2 Twist which will give you clean and great tasting tap water for a fraction of the price of bottled water.

You can buy TAPP filters from our local partner on tappwater.mt.

But is bottled water in Malta any better?

There is no scientific evidence that bottled water is healthier or safer than tap water. Generally the opposite might be true as most bottled water has been found to contain microplastics and estrogen. In addition to this tap water is more tightly regulated with daily controls.

Furthermore bottled water is bad for the environment and costly for consumers. On average Maltese households spend over €250 per year on bottled water.

Summary of tap water in Malta

  • The tap water in Malta meets international standards in terms of safe drinking water
  • If you don’t like the taste of tap water or worry about the quality then get a high quality water filter such as TAPP 2 Twist tested for tap water in Malta
  • Avoid bottled water in Malta as it’s bad for the planet, your wallet and not healthier than tap water or filtered tap water

Drink TAPP water and enjoy Malta!

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