The mention of the term Chadwick Lakes is likely to take most Maltese readers on a trip down memory lane, with many sharing childhood memories of heading to the area particularly after rainy days eager to experience a rare example of cascades on the island.
Situated between Rabat and Mtarfa this oasis of serene fresh water presents a perfect day of walking and trekking, but it is also a popular recreational area for families and young children. Also, it is an important ecological site. Despite the popularity with the locals, perhaps very few are aware that the area got its name from Sir Osbert Chadwick, who, during the second half of the 19th century planned several dams, of various sizes and forms, with the intention, to retain as much rainwater as possible for agricultural use.
His dream objective will be re-established with a massive intervention being carried out, with the support of EU Funds, aiming to restore the area to re-create the original volume of water storage in three major dam areas in this valley. These storage areas would provide an adequate water storage for the farmers in the area. Hence this will result in an alternative water source to groundwater for the agricultural activities around the Chadwick Lakes area.
As part of this important intervention, which is being managed by the Energy and Water Agency, more than 53,000 m3 of silt and valley deposits have been cleared from the dam areas in this zone that have been depositing for the last six decades. This work aimed to restore the valley’s ecological system and, for this reason, invasive vegetation is being removed and replaced with endemic plants. In fact, more than 5,000 trees and plants are being planted along the valley banks to protect them from soil erosion and improve the overall valley environment. The planting and reforestation are being done by Nature Trust Malta which is collaborating in this project through an agreement between the mentioned NGO and the Energy and Water Agency.
The infrastructure in the area, such as rubble walls and bridges are also being restored, including the Fiddien Box which is a British built structure used to collect water from several different sources in the area, and, eventually, supply the main water system in our country. This restored structure is now going to be used as an interpretation center, with a recreational area developed around it.
Prior to the project commencement, several studies have been carried out in order to identify a number of existing species in the valley. The exercise then led to the development of an earth-beaten trail, and also to the restoration of various built passageways making the area accessible to the public. Once the project is completed, this will offer wonderful scenery that complements the stunning beauty of the valley.
The investment of €5million of European Funds in this regeneration project will offer a new life to this important green lung, therefore improving the local environment and also the quality of life, while protecting another must-visit spot to enhance the quality of our country’s product offering.
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