The restoration and regeneration project of Wied il-Qlejgħa, also known as The Chadwick Lakes, has been completed.
The project was undertaken by the Energy and Water Agency and an investment of €5 million from EU Funds and will now be managed by Nature Trust Malta.
Among the works that commenced in the 2019 summer, the project included the removal of 55,000 square metres of rubble that had accumulated over 60 years and was blocking the flow of various channels.
In addition to this, 35 million litres of fresh water have been added to be able to be used by farmers in the surrounding area for irrigation while stone walls have been restored and a system of passages stretching over two kilometres for water to flow from Triq il-Fiddien to below the former RN hospital at Mtarfa.
Neil Azzopardi Ferriggi, an Administrative Official from the Agency, explained that besides the conservation and economic regeneration of the area, the investment was also crucial for tourism and the social life of the country.
He said the aim of the project was to diversify Malta’s tourism products but also to make the place a recreation area for Maltese and Gozitan families to enable them to relax in a natural environment in a place that is unique to Malta because of amount of fresh water in the locality.
On completion of the project the Agency has entered into an agreement with Nature Trust Malta to monitor and manage the ecosystem and ecological restoration as well as the natural species that inhabit the waters for these to strengthen and increase in the future.
Ben Camilleri, an Official with Nature Trust Malta, aid the next step is the removal of alien invasive plants to be replaced by endemic plant.
He said that currently there is a focus on 12 species, five as originally identified, as well as others including annual plants from time to time. This work has to continue over the next three or four years to ensure its positive effect. While some plants are being phased out, these are being replaced by endemic plants of which there are eight types of freshwater plants.
The overall identity will thus become that of a valley area of a wood of trees and fresh water. The various water courses will be under the scrutiny of security cameras to prevent the dumping of rubbish and acts of vandalism.