On Saturday February 5, 2022 the Water Tower conservation project was inaugurated at the Public Abattoir in Marsa. More than one million Euros were invested in this project which led to the safeguarding of such a unique industrial heritage of the Maltese Islands.
The water tower was one of the first concrete structures in Malta, this was instrumental for the main operations at the Public Abattoir for approximately 50 years. Over the years, the tower was deteriorating, therefore it had to be restored and is now going to be used to store pure water that will eventually be used at the Public abattoir.
With the new implementation of sustainable practices, the environmental impact at the implant will be kept to a minimum. Most of the investment was dedicated to the restoration of the water tower, which has been standing since the early 20th Century, another part of the investment was the installation of the photovoltaic panels. The restoration of the tower costs were covered by National funds, Planning Authority, and around €500,000 from research funded projects at the University of Malta, co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020.
The conservation was led by Professor Ruben P. Borg, innovative technology on concrete was utilised during this project, making Malta one of the few EU countries where this type of concrete technology was used in practice. The location and the materials used will lead to increase of temperature in Spring and Summer, therefore less energy is used in order for the water to reach a temperature of 83⁰C (for adequate use at the Public abattoir).
Prof Ruben P. Borg said “ Together with all the entities involved, we came up with a strategic plan to conserve the water tower, which was abandoned for several years. The EU funded research project at the University of Malta was an ambitious one as it involved various sectors which needed to work together in order to optimise the best way to intervene. Advanced techniques were used to analyse the materials and the structure and virtual models were used to find the best solutions for intervention. The biggest innovation used was the new material composed of ultra-high performance concrete based on Nano elements. I am proud to say that this work at the University of Malta is contributing to a knowledge greater than the Maltese islands.”
University Rector, Prof Alfred J Vella said that “ We are here today to witness that the University was part of conserving a national asset from old to new. At the University we do not simply aim to educate and lead people to their professions, or perform research but also contribute to our country. We aim to see the fruit of the University intertwine with the prospects of our home, the Maltese islands through hard work and determination. We hope to have more collaborations such as this in the near future which will allow our students to challenge themselves and have such opportunities.”