When the words ‘water’ and ‘Malta’ appear in the same sentence, we tend to find ‘crisis’ nestled between them. It is well known that Malta has a crisis of fresh water due to its lack of natural resources such as lakes and rivers. Despite this, there are still a few places scattered around the island where we can enjoy the presence of fresh water. Over the next few weeks, make sure to scan the sky for grey clouds. One last rainfall is our final hope to view water trickling down valleys before the scorching summer months dry everything up.
Wied il-Għasel, Mosta
Wied il-Għasel has been immortalised in one of our favourite Maltese songs: L-Aħħar Bidwi f’Wied il-Għasel, but perhaps not many people have actually been to the picturesque valley in Mosta which has an impressive length of around 15 km. Although folklore has it that the bees populating this valley used to produce so much honey it overspilled from their hives and trickled along the valley, this is not the only thing that flows through this peaceful place. The valley is known for its presence of pools and streams supplied from the Rabat plateau. While you’re at it, visit the three wayside chapels found along this valley.
Lunzjata Valley, Kerċem
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The Lunzjata valley in the quaint village of Kerċem is considered to be one of the most scenic valleys in Gozo, complete with a small 14th century chapel dedicated to The Annunciation of Our Lady. The tranquil feeling you get walking along the paths listening to the rustling of trees is only amplified by the sound of rushing water from the natural springs. The highlight of this picturesque valley is a large fountain, also known as Għajn il-Kbir, which was erected in 1698. Water flows from the springs into the historic fountain, which is surrounded by a number of carob and olive trees.
Chadwick Lakes, Rabat
While not exactly a ‘lake’, this area is the most well known in Malta for its presence of water, as a result of the series of dams built alongside the valley by the engineer Osbert Chadwick in 1890. The water floods over the dams and brings about the artificial effect of a small waterfall. Unfortunately, it starts to dry up as summer approaches, which is why you need to get to it before the sweltering hot days. It’s a perfect area for walking and trekking or even a simple picnic.
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Buskett is a hugely important ecological site for a number of reasons, including the presence of Punic Catacombs, Bronze Age cart ruts and underground flour mills. It is also one of the only wooded areas in Malta and has a stream going through which makes it essential for local ecology. The watercourse has recently benefited from a rehabilitation project where walls have been reconstructed and the course has been cleared of invasive species and excess silt that was obstructing the flow of the water. This means that it’s one of the best times to visit the Buskett watercourse.
Wied Għollieqa, San Ġwann
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Wied Għollieqa is a little green lung lying between University and the San Ġwann area, also known as the valley that a lot of students go through every day when they park at Kappara and have to get to University. Few of these students stop to appreciate the ecological importance of this valley, which hosts a number of maquis trees including carob trees and almond trees. Wied Għollieqa is particularly picturesque after a large rainfall, as a freshwater stream flows to the valley, where it eventually collects into a depression which forms a freshwater pool. However, this pool tends to quickly evaporate due to sunlight and porous bedrock which means it’s only available during specific months.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Amy Webb