PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY AND ENTERPRISE Launch of first environmental regeneration project under BELLUS call

St John Rescue Corps to receive financial support to restore a large 137ft reservoir which can hold some 660,000 litres of rainwater


The first environmental regeneration project under the BELLUS call operated by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has been launched. With an investment of around €61,000 a reservoir in Fort Madliena operated by the St John Rescue Corps (SJRC) will be restored.


BELLUS – Better Environment in Our Local Urban Spaces – is a call funded by the Environment Fund of ERA. A total of €500,000 have been allocated for the call issued last year. Six projects were shortlisted, qualifying for a maximum grant of €100,000.


The project submitted by SJRC will see a much-needed stage 1 routine maintenance of a large 137ft reservoir. The reservoir can hold up to 660,000 litres of rainwater. Through this restoration, volunteers of the SRJC will use the collected rainwater to top up the fire engines in case of grass and industrial fires, and to irrigate the nearby vegetation within the fort.


This project was launched by Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli and Kevin Mercieca, Acting CEO of the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA).


The restoration works will involve the careful removal and disposal of the contaminated water in the reservoir, together with silt and debris settled at the bottom, hand cleaning of rock surface and power washing of inner walls and floor, the sealing of cracks and fissures and re-plastering with appropriate water-proofing methodology to prevent loss of future collected water. Other proposed works on site will include the careful removal of existing invasive vegetation which roots are damaging the structure of the reservoir.


During a visit to Fort Madliena, Minister Miriam Dalli explained that this investment will help in reusing rainwater sustainably.


“Sustainability is an essential part of each and every project.  With this project, rainwater will be used to water trees and plants surrounding the Fort. But not only, as this restoration will also help St John Rescue Corps to fill up their fire trucks when their support is needed to fight fire, decreasing the impact on groundwater extraction", Minister Miriam Dalli explained.


St John Rescue Corps Chief Operations Andrew Grech said that “St John Rescue Corps have been based at this fort for the past 35 years and we always felt the need to take care of this historic building with military architecture. In practice this project will assist in our operations, to be more efficient whilst enhancing the environment and decreasing the impact on the environment through operations and water usage."


All these works will be closely monitored and followed-up with consultations with ERA and any other relevant entities involved.


Additional Information:


The BELLUS Call issued under the Environment Fund aims at fulfilling ERA's goals by improving environmental conditions and raise environmental awareness.


Six projects have been chosen for funding under the BELLUS:

  • St John Rescue Corps – Restoration of Fort Madliena Water reservoir, maintenance to water channels and well sump pits to ensure the free flow of rainwater into the reservoir.
  • Don Bosco Foundation – Renovate one of their facilities and turn it into a green living hub.
  • MCAST – Installation of 300 sqm extensive green roof on top of the new MCAST Resource Centre building.
  • Żejtun Local Council – Embellishment of Ġebel San Martin Ring Road and restoration of rubble walls to preserve water in reservoirs, prevent soil erosion and flooding, protect biodiversity, and will also include the installation of benches, bins, and road lighting.
  • Federation for Hunting and Conservation: Propagation of local trees, shrubs, and plants in existing nurseries at Buskett, as well as raising awareness through the involvement of the public in hands-on planting and the provision of seeds to interested citizens in a controlled manner.
  • St Augustine College – Regeneration of the college's garden, together with two areas on the roof as possible roof gardens, with the aim to engage students and raise environmental awareness.​​​