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Title: A technical study towards sustainable salinity management at Simar Nature Reserve
Authors: Farrugia, Sephora
Keywords: Simar Nature Reserve (Xemxija, Malta)
BirdLife Malta
Wetlands -- Malta
Salinization -- Malta
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: Farrugia, S. (2019). A technical study towards sustainable salinity management at Simar Nature Reserve (Bachelor’s dissertation).
Abstract: Water resources are vital for the sustenance of life, which unfortunately is becoming highly over-exploited, especially on islands. This dissertation focuses on one particular waterbody; is-Simar Nature Reserve, which is a wetland situated in Xemxija, Malta that serves as a green area sustaining the life of specific species of flora and fauna, as well as serving as a feeding and resting place for migratory birds. Data for this wetland shows that the salinity concentration has increased significantly in just a few years, especially during 2016 and 2017. Considering how concerned the nongovernmental organisation, BirdLife Malta, who is managing the site is, this work aims to study the situation and provide a solution to counteract this rise in salinity, in the least intrusive and most sustainable manner. A review of literature is carried out to help in achieving the aims of this research project, especially when it comes to deciding on which technology to use for the production of freshwater. This study is mostly quantitative and conclusive in nature, involving a number of fieldwork sessions, data processing on a number of different software and various calculations throughout. An analysis is presented on the watershed hydrology of the site and also on the basins within the reserve itself. Observation of trends was carried out to understand four main parameters; water level, rainfall, salinity and volumes. A number of solutions are considered for combating the rise of salinity in the basins. These can be summarised as the introduction of micro reverse osmosis units coupled to a solar PV system, in order to run them from a green electricity source. The use of a storage facility is also considered, as well as the sourcing of fresh water from other parts of the island by means of bowser trips. The ultimate solution was found to be the introduction of a sustainable and highly compact system comprising of three micro reverse-osmosis machines that are fully powered by a small photovoltaic grid-connected system, without the need for onsite water storage or the use of external sourcing of water. This solution has the potential of solving two problems simultaneously. First, it ensures that the basins do not run dry, which would be catastrophic for the original scope of the site, as a resting and feeding place for migratory birds and second it succeeds in controlling the levels of salinity throughout the year to sustain the life of living species in the area and provide the necessary micro-organisms for feeding the migratory birds. Since the investments are quite high BirdLife Malta could opt for national or EU funding schemes supporting environmentally beneficial projects. The proposed solution is also applicable to any wetland that is facing similar problems.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsES - 2019

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