Marco Cremona has been working as a water treatment engineer since 1992. He is an expert on environmental technologies and was recently a finalist on the Good Entrepreneur.
Mention utility tariffs to most people these days and they shudder. The gradual removal of subsidies and rising oil prices means that you are likely to be paying more for your consumption of water and electricity in the future. On January 1st 2010, new tariffs will kick in.
There’s a lot of confusion on the actual tariffs. So, to get an idea as things stand, click here for the water tariffs and here for the electricity tariffs. If these lists are not clear enough, you can try the bill calculator here or even download a piece of software that claims to work out your bill for you from here.
Here are some personal observations about water and electricity consumption:
- The tariffs differentiate between residential and non-residential tariffs. As things stand, a hotel will pay €1.40 per cubic metre for consumption over 40,000 cubic metres, compared with a domestic client who pays €5.50 for consumption of over 33 cubic metres per person per year.
- Two people consuming an average amount of 180 litres per day, and living in one residence, pay 60 euros as water service charge and 80 euros as a consumption charge per annum. 45% of the bill is a standing charge which one has to pay even if the consumption is nil. This, to me, seems totally disproportionate. The water tariff should penalise consumption and reward water conservation. However, with the current tariff structure there is no incentive to save water.
- I’d estimate that two people living in a domestic residence will consume around 10 units of electricity a day. Add an air-conditioner, and you consume an additional 5 -7 units a day.
- The price of water has doubled in recent years for the domestic consumer. Malta’s tariffs for water are linked to the price of electricity. This is because 55% of town water comes from reverse osmosis, with the remaining 45% from aquifers. To transport water, you also need electricity to pump the water from the point of production to the point of use. Around 30% of the water is lost in transit.
- Malta’s tap water is perfectly safe for drinking – it’s just not all that great on the taste buds. Conversely, bottled water may cost €0.50 per litre. That’s about 400 times the price of tap water.
- You’d be surprised how much water goes into the production of other goods. 2,400 litres of water goes into the production of a McDonalds hamburger. 100 litres of water for a cup of coffee. 13,500 litres of water for 1 kg of beef. Around 790 litres for 1 litre of water fit to drink. In the case of Malta, 350m cubic metres of water is imported for products produced elsewhere. We consume 50m cubic metres of water per year. This means that we import six times the amount of virtual water as we actually use.
- Malta is still not using its natural resources properly. We are over-extracting our aquifiers by around 50 per cent over their sustainable levels. We need to urgently address the situation. We risk losing the free supply of 23 million of cubic metres of water a year in fifteen to twenty years’ time. That’s the equivalent of 126,000 water roof-tanks a day.
Photo: Gege Gatt
Elizabeth Ayling says
Sounds good Dieter! Must bother to try this given its cheapness. Thanks for sharing this practical and down to earth option. Does the water taste at all briny / salty? Is your area on reverse osmosis?
dieter vink says
I use tap water and a water filter (jug type) a replace ment filter costs 5e, at this rate even paying top whack for tap water it works out at only 3c per liter, I drink water ((unboiled) from this jug all the time with no problems to my health at al, also using a filter of this type reduces the amount of scale in your kettle, I have been doing this now for 1 year almost and my kettle still doesnt need de-scaling…..
Elizabeth Ayling says
I paid Euro 40 for around 5,000 l bowser water – unpotable. Perhaps that helps a bit with your research into comparisons. I think the consideration is what you intend using the water for? Tap water is not ideal for gardens.
Joanna Stellini says
Which is the most economical per cubic liter, local tap water or good unpotable bowser water?
Vincent Gauci says
Scale, by itself, is of no health concern.
Neil Spiteri says
How come you say that tap water is 100% safe to drink?! What about the scale that builds up in the kettle over time? Is that not a health concern? I flipped to bottled water to make coffee or tea to eliminate the issue of the scale. Do you think it is better or a not?
Mike Silver says
There is an easy solution to this problem and any other country in the worlds problem when it comes to using up energy resources … free energy … but hey, the energy companies couldn’t allow the people to have their own energy now could they … how would they make money from that!?
Until we the people remove from power those companies that hold us in slavery with regards to energy, we will face ever increasing costs, it will reach a stage where only the rich will be able to afford the basics of water and heat, then the real time will come … who will stand up for themselves and who will bend over and bow for the companies??