WSC Annual Report 2021

Page 1

Annual Report

2021 wsc.com.mt




2021


Contents Table of Figures

3

CEO’s Message

6

Corporate Strategy

8

Finance & Administration

16

Projects and Support Services

26

Distribution & Networks

35

Production and Treatment

42

Quality, Research and Development

55

Strategic Information

60


page 4

Table of Figures Figure 1

Improving trend of Non-Revenue Water

9

Figure 2

St Lucia Zone under test

10

Figure 3

Various Gains Achieved

11

Figure 4

Active Meters and Modules in the last year

12

Figure 5

BUPF Notifications

12

Figure 6

Meter Replacement

13

Figure 7

Dara Revenue Collected

14

Figure 8

Expenditure per Category – 2020 vs 2021

17

Figure 9

Total Expenditure – 2020 vs 2021

18

Figure 10

Billed Sale of Water, year-on-year

18

Figure 11

Cumulative Sale of Water by Category, year-on-year

19

Figure 12

Procurement Requests Handled during 2021 at Publication Stage

20

Figure 13

Procurement Requests Handled during 2021 at Award Stage

20

Figure 14

Inventory Demand: Year-on-year change

22

Figure 15

The Corporation Demographics, as of 31 December 2021

23

Figure 16

Employees by Area of Employment, as of 31 December 2021

23

Figure 17

Average Age, 2020 vs 2021

24

Figure 18

Distribution of Productive Hours in 2021

24

Figure 19

EU Funds Disbursement

26

Figure 20

New Water Network pipelaying

27

Figure 21

Historical artefacts unearthed at Zabbar

27

Figure 22

Upgrade of booster - Naxxar

28

Figure 23

Typical water upgrading works at Naxxar. Similar works were carried out at Mrejnu and Dingli

29

Figure 24

The new generator at the Birzebbugia Wastewater Pumping Station

30

Figure 25

Pumping station at Sa Maison

30

Figure 26

Upgrades at Barkat STP and SASTP

31

Figure 27

Cleaning at Sta. Marija Reservoir

32

Figure 28

Predictive maintenance made easier

33

Figure 29

PV Farm at Qrendi Reservoir

34

Figure 30

Improved uniformity amongs Regions

35

Figure 31

12 months of leakage levels

36

Figure 32

The drop in ILI since 2004

37

Figure 33

New Water Customers Analysis

39


Annual Report 2021

New services connection requests in Gozo

40

Figure 35

Ground Water/RO Production trend

42

Figure 36

Ground Water / RO

42

Figure 37

Naval Reservoir Inspection

44

Figure 38

Santa Marija Reservoir emptying and cleaning

44

Figure 39

Santa Marija Reservoir refilled after cleaning

45

Figure 40

Ta’ Qali Reservoir inspection

45

Figure 41

Barkat Sewage Treatment Plant

46

Figure 42

Gozo Sewage Treatment Plant

46

Figure 43

Cumnija Sewage Treatment Plant

47

Figure 44

Receiving Area

48

Figure 45

Waste Separator

48

Figure 46

Solid Fraction Discharging Area

48

Figure 47

Monthly farm-waste treated at Sant Antnin, M’Scala.

49

Figure 48

Grit & Grease Chamber

50

Figure 49

Primary settlement tanks.

51

Figure 50

Secondary Clarifiers

51

Figure 51

Secondary Clarifiers

51

Figure 52

Aeration Lane Penstocks

52

Figure 53

Plant Housekeeping

52

Figure 54

Plant Housekeeping

52

Figure 55

New pipework Connections at Barkat STP

53

Figure 56

New pipework Connections at Barkat STP

53

Figure 57

HDPE pipework connections to the South polishing plant tunnel pipework

53

Figure 58

New water monthly production - 2021

54

Figure 59

Injury Men Days 2017 - 2021

58

Figure 60

WAW School Water Dispenser

59

Figure 61

Smart Metering Upgrades Results

61

Figure 62

Total Email Accounts

63

Figure 63

External Emails

64

Figure 64

Blocked Emails

65

Figure 65

Yearly Scada Downtime

65

Figure 66

Total Dashboard Catalogue

66

page 5

Figure 34


CEO’s

Message

page 6

One cannot but feel extreme pride and satisfaction when going through the WSC’s 2021 annual report. All at the WSC delivered extraordinary results amid significant instability and global disruptions. This report will give an overview of such results, results that wouldn’t have been possible without the active contribution of each one of us, from employees manning our treatment plants to those handling our helpline and any one in between.

We passed through another pandemic year with many unknowns that, in most parts, replicated the challenges of the previous year. If anything, 2021 accentuated and prolonged challenges that were new to many in the industry. Long established best practices were binned. Our employees’ creativity was tested to the core. With ever-changing updates from suppliers and service providers underlining new daily challenges, plans had to be redrawn multiple times. As the Corporation ploughed ahead with its plans to double-up on delivering projects during low activity periods, the resilience of the WSC team shone through. As we gradually move to a new normal, the efforts made in the last few years will undoubtedly positively impact our operations for many years to come.

from our revenue assurance section, efficiency improved, which was critical in addressing the increased cost pressures felt across our operations. A drop in demand on our most lucrative business was mitigated by implementing new systems that drove down non-revenue water levels to record lows. We challenged long-established practices to make sure we left no stone unturned to increase productivity, despite making operational sacrifices necessitated by the pandemic disruptions and others. The result was that in 2021 we produced less water when compared to previous years yet delivered more water to our clients meeting new pandemic demand trends that focused more on residential activity and less on traditional commercial and domestic activity.

Effectiveness and efficiency were central in whatever we did. Starting

We implemented. Despite the challenges mentioned above, we

continued to successfully and aggressively implement more than 50% of our 2020-2023 business plan. We delivered new tools for effective management of our operations, which continue to make a difference to our workforce and the clients we serve. We successfully finalised and implemented a collective agreement covering more than 85% of our workforce that improved working conditions whilst enhancing operational efficiency. We launched a new customer-centric plan that delivered immediate results where it matters most. Today our clients benefit from improved resolution times when problems crop up, with increased accessibility and live updates on reported issues. This is only the start, for our clients can and will be the measure of our success, and their feedback will spur us on to tweak our operations and ensure that we deliver on our obligations.


Annual Report 2021

Effectiveness, Efficiency and Quality

As indicated above, 2021 saw us delivering more capital projects than ever before. Key to this strategy was our partnering with Infrastructure Malta to deliver joint projects, benefiting from improved economies of scale and minimising inconveniences to road users. From renewing the transmission mains from Cirkewwa to Ta’ Qali to laying more than 100 kilometres of new water and sewer networks across Malta and Gozo, this partnership was crucial for us to shift into a higher gear in the shortest time possible. A word of thanks is due to the team at IM and other stakeholders for making this possible in such a short time.

The WSC continues to implement measures toward sustainability. Apart from our EU-funded Net Zero-Impact Utility project, various other measures were implemented to safeguard and minimise environmental impact. Today more than ever before, these initiatives are garnering the support of many, including our clients, employees and stakeholders. Today we operate PV farms that can generate more than 3MWp, with plans to double this capacity in the next few years, on more than 20,000 square metres of already

committed WSC space. Add to this the highly successful introduction of potable drinking fountains in public spaces and buildings such as Mater Dei Hospital and public schools across the country. The network of our active potable water dispensers, more than 300 at time of writing, helped eliminate close to one million small plastic bottles from circulation, potentially reaching the equivalent of five million bottles per annum when fully operational. The year also saw us publishing and adjudicating plans to replace our primary fleet of small vehicles with fully electric zero-emission vehicles, the largest fleet of any government entity in Malta. The potential to make a difference and contribute to the country’s efforts for increased environmental awareness in all that we do will not be ignored by WSC.

The successes outlined in this report wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment and energy of all our employees in delivering under any circumstances, even the most challenging. We changed, and we will continue to adapt to new realities. We will continue to strive for improved governance, transparency, and accountability, acknowledging the huge responsibility we have on our shoulders, namely, delivering an essential service whilst honouring the nation’s trust in managing this critical activity.

As great as 2021 was, 2022 can and will be better if we remain true to our values. We will deliver. We will deliver well. We will deliver fast.

page 7

Quality remains the most vital central theme of our business plan. From our efforts to improve water quality across Malta and Gozo to improved operations in our treatment plants, quality was, is, and will remain the most critical performance indicator in our operations. During the year under review, we started producing high-quality water at our brand-new seawater desalination plant in Hondoq, Gozo. This plant will not only deliver better quality potable water in Gozo and enhance customer satisfaction, but it will also reduce pressures on groundwater in the area. This is a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis plant with the highest performance standards in the industry and cutting-edge technology. Also, in 2021 we ramped up the finishing touches on the St Antnin treatment plant in Marsascala. When commissioned, it will alleviate pressures on our main Barkat sewage treatment plant, allowing us to treat effluent more effectively and improve New Water production for the area, a new project in itself. The success of our New Water project – that of producing high-quality water from treated effluent - is second to none. We are amongst the first in the world to deploy this on a commercial basis, and the numbers speak for themselves. More than 1,300 farmers benefit from access to New Water for

agricultural use. In 2021 the WSC pumped more than 1.5 million cubic metres of this vital resource to farmers directly via a dedicated and secured network of pipes and reservoirs. A network we’re expanding and investing in continuously, supported by clear government policy and essential EU funding.


Corporate Strategy Directorate The primary role of the corporate strategy directorate is to ensure all efforts are aimed at achieving the ultimate vision of the Corporation – that to future-proof all our operations at better quality whilst maximing resources available.

page 8

The three-year rolling business plan compiled last year has been followed rigorously, and we can state that in one year, of the 109 initiatives envisaged for the first three years, 19 were completed, 28 are more than 90% complete, and the overall business plan progress stands at 51%. The table below shows the progress registered by the individual directorates.

Task Name

Finish

% Complete

BP00 - Business Plan (Overall)

Fri 28/06/24

51%

BP01 - Production and Treatment

Fri 29/12/23

42%

BP02 - Network & Distribution

Fri 29/12/23

31%

BP03 - Quality, Research & Development

Tue 14/06/22

74%

BP04 - Strategic Information

Thu 28/12/23

58%

BP05 - Finance & Administration

Fri 29/12/23

61%

BP06 - Projects Support & Services

Fri 28/06/24

39%

BP07 - Strategic Unit

Fri 29/12/23

53%

Table 1

Business Plan Progress registered by the Individual directorates

Within the second quarter of 2022, the business plan will be updated in a rolling fashion to include the fourth-year initiatives, which will be equally monitored to ensure their timely completion.


Annual Report 2021

Overall Non-Revenue Water (NRW) This is definitely a great year to report. The overall NRW, which has been continuously on the decline over the last five years following a peak of over 43%, has been successfully reduced from 39% in 2020 to 35.9% in 2021. Efforts to achieve this have been focused on two main operations that matter the most. Real losses, or rather leakage, have been reduced to a record low level, resulting in a 1.4% reduction in the production of water over the preceding year. On the other side of the spectrum, metering was scrupulously delved into to

ascertain that water consumption is more accurately billed, resulting in an overall improvement of 3.6% over the preceding year. Considering real losses, specifically Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI), are already close to the magic 1.5 level, the strategy for 2022 is mainly to focus on the Apparent Loss Index (ALI). ALI and ILI for every metered zone will be made visible to the region’s leakage management teams. No longer will the focus be solely and blindly dedicated to real losses, but the two distinct losses of each metered zone shall be studied,

and efforts will only be expended on the type of loss that renders the most significant gains to the Corporation. This is very exciting, albeit challenging, to attain record NRW levels in the coming years. The graph below clearly depicts the trend reversal in water production, the reduction in real losses (leakage), the increase in billed water consumption, and the commensurate significant improving trend of Non-Revenue Water. The trend and numbers speak for themselves.

Figure 1

Improving trend of Non-Revenue Water 50

40,000,000 35,000,000

40

25,000,000 20,000,000

35

15,000,000

30

10,000,000 25

5,000,000

20

0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

2019 2020 2021

System Input m3/year

NRW%

Consumption (Billed) m3/year

Real Losses m3/year

page 9

45

30,000,000


Revenue Assurance Apparent losses attributable to NRW include water misuse, meter under-registration and meter reading/billing anomalies. The Corporation re-engineered the way things were being done in metering. Billing anomalies are being tackled by full collaboration between the metering team, SI directorate and a working group with ARMS Ltd. This working

group identified problems leading to under-billing and corrected the billing algorithm to ensure bills are more accurate. On the other hand, the metering team is focusing, again with the full collaboration of the SI directorate, on replacing meters that genuinely make a difference and not just blindly replacing meters because they look old and worn out. A

strong back-office team highly conversant with billing procedures works restlessly to ensure that billing is as accurate as possible. Further to this, a water misuse team continuously monitors identified problematic areas and ensures local laws and regulations are adhered to.

Testing the NRW Hypothesis This Directorate, together with distribution SI, has confirmed the hypothesis that overall Leakage is in the region of 12%, under registration 16%, billing anomalies 8%, and theft 4%.

For this purpose, the St Lucia zone was selected.

page 10

Figure 2

St Lucia Zone under test

All areas of NRW were tackled, beginning with billing anomalies, theft, metering issues, and also real losses. The gains achieved were as per the table below:

The gains are depicted in the graph below. All theft and leakages were removed for this exercise, even if this meant going beyond the economically feasible level. The yellow portion representing apparent losses has been minimised, and the blue portion representing billing maximised. The gains were twofold and distinct, whereby billing revenue increased, and water fed into the zone decreased, resulting in production savings. The following are gains achieved:

Loss type

Gains %

Leakage

all

Under Registration

5

• •

Billing anomalies

8

Theft

4

• •

NRW reduced from 60% to around 15%. Real losses reduced to well below an ILI of 1 and way beyond the economically feasible level. Apparent losses were reduced from 43% to 15%. It is now fair to state that this remaining portion of NRW is attributed to system losses. Gains from stopped meters were 5% Gains from slow meters were just under 9%


Annual Report 2021

Figure 3

1000

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90

800

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700

70

600

60

500

50

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40

300

30

200

20

100

10

%

Volume m3

Various Gains Achieved

0

0 9

10

11

Real Loss

12

13

14

15

16

17

Apparent Loss

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

On Connect Metered

Successfully metering consumption is the driving force

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

Not Metered by OC billed

35

36

37

38

39

Simulated

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

App Loss (Metered) %

48

49

50

51

52

1

2

App Loss (Billing) %

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

NRW %

of the revenue assurance department within this directorate. Efficiently functioning AMM helps us collect data remotely and assure the right numbers make it to billing for timely issuance of bills.

The rollout of the AMM is still progressing steadily, with the graph below depicting the trend of a growing customer base by 8% in one year and the installation of AMM systems on 285,000 of our meter population.

Albeit quick implementation, quality cannot be overlooked, as a simple mistake during the implementation stages will result in problems associated with issuing bills. One such depository for such problems is the BUPF, which can be seen below as being well under control.

page 11

Over 2022, WSC intends to rethink the present methodology of looking at losses and implementing efforts that produced the above-reported results across the whole island. The outcome of this study shall thus serve to guide decisions to ensure efforts are addressing the largest efficient gains first.

26


Figure 4

Active Meters and Modules in the last year Active Meters/month

Active Modules/month

302000 286000

300000

284000

298000

282000

296000

280000

294000

278000 276000

292000

274000

290000

272000

288000

270000

286000

268000 Apr 21

May 21

Jun 21

Jul 21

Aug 21

Sep 21

Oct 21

Nov 21 Dec 21

Meter replacements are key to retaining a relatively young meter age, ensuring the lowest possible under registration. As a water meter ages, the sensitivity of its

Apr 21

Jan 22 Feb 22 Mar 22

May 21 Jun 21

Jul 21

Aug 21

Sep 21 Oct 21

Nov 21 Dec 21 Jan 22 Feb 22 Mar 22

mechanism degrades. Together with the consumption profiles of some accounts, it would severely reduce the capacity to faithfully register the true consumption. The graph below depicts the improvements registered in the replacement meters over the years.

Figure 5

BUPF Notifications page 12

BUPF / Month 1000 918

900 789

800 700 600

505

500

500 379

400

380 338

310

200

339

344

Mar 22

Apr 22

287

300

232 198

180

165 132

100 0 Jan 21

Feb 21

Mar 21

Apr 21

May 21

Jun 21

July 21

Aug 21

Sept 21

Oct 21

Nov 21

Dec 21

Jan 22

Feb 22


Annual Report 2021

Figure 6

Meter Replacement Total No. of Jobs / Yr

Total No. of Meter Replaced / Yr

50000

50000

45000

45000

40000

40000

35000

35000

30000

30000

25000

25000

20000

20000

15000

15000

10000

10000

5000

5000

0

0 2020

2021

DARA plays a very important role in the revenue assurance department within this directorate. The structure allows

2022 ???

2020

2021

2022 Forecast

for the successful billing and collection of monies due even in light of the challenging technical issues faced in the billing process. The reporting period is a record year whereby over €1m was successfully billed and collected.

page 13


Figure 7

DARA Revenue Collected Revenue Collected 1,200,000€ 1,014,333€

1,000,000€ 800,000€ 681,966€

600,000€ 400,000€

288,789€

200,000€ 0 2020

2021

2022

Revenue Collected - By Quarter 600,000€ 502,395€

500,000€ 400,000€ 300,000€

244,876€ 173,133€

200,000€

168,535€

218,900€

176,833€

166,571€

151,345€ 112,612€

100,000€

69,890€

0 QTR1

QTR2

QTR3

QTR4

Qtr1

QTR2

2020

QTR3

QTR4

QTR1

2021

QTR2 2022

page 14

Revenue Collected - By Month 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0 Jan

Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Jul

Aug Sep

Oct Nov Dec Jan

Feb Mar Apr May Jun

2020

Total

90,6 59,0

95,1

13,3

56,2

43,0

74,4

Jul

Aug Sep

Oct Nov Dec Jan

Feb Mar Apr

67,4

242

54,7

2021 32,5

44,3

58,2

75,1

39,7

58,0

33,4

77,0

73,8

60,6

42,2

46,5

2022 52,6

95,8

163

59,7

104

69,8


Annual Report 2021

A strategic perspective towards a sustainable futureproof entity

Potable water quality is high on the agenda as we believe that our tap water needs to be available on each and every dining table. This will significantly reduce plastic use and waste: ‘reduce’ is the most crucial tactic in sustainable growth.

Hondoq RO plant is a success story. It was designed in-house by our industry-leading engineers and is easily the best plant worldwide when it comes to water quality to energy consumption ratio. This technology shall now be tested in our larger plants and, if feasible, implemented nationwide to reduce our energy requirments further.

Added to this, a concentrated effort in energy management and specific energy reductions will be undertaken to replace pumps, electrical control panels, air blowers and to modify energyhungry processes to minimise the carbon footprint associated with the production, distribution, waste collection and treatment of water.

So, in a nutshell, all our efforts are focused on doing more, at better quality, to prepare for any eventuality, whilst reducing our impact on the environment. This is our vision for the coming decade, and we are determined to make it happen. page 15

Reporting 2021 alone would not do proper justice to the immense efforts implemented by the Corporation over the working year. Much work has been done that will act as the backbone of 2022 initiatives and beyond. Futureproofing the WSC is not a luxury but a must. This philosophy is now ingrained into all actions we undertake. But it’s not about futureproofing alone. A leap in quality is our humble promise to our customers, but not at the expense of jeopardising the socioeconomic balance that exists in the present tariff structure. So most of our projects have specific recurrent cost-reduction plans that ensure costs are reduced as quality is improved while preparing for future economic growth.

Most of our available roofs will be carpeted with PV panels to offset our carbon footprint. Restricted diameter pipework in water and wastewater networks will be upgraded to ensure minimal frictional pressure. The respective reduction in specific energy required to pump water and less wastewater leaking into the aquifers. Unused reservoirs will be refurbished to increase the water supply and ensure availability without fail.


Financial Performance The continued socio-economic challenges brought about by the pandemic meant that the Corporation experienced another financially challenging year.

Nonetheless, the overall drive towards quality extended into the financial realm through increased controls and more accurate reporting to ensure data integrity. This approach solidified the good governance stance taken by the Corporation throughout the years. To this end, the financial results summarised in table 2, have been prepared and audited in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and approved by the WSC’s board of directors on the 17th May of 2022.

Finance 2020 (Audited)

2021 (Audited)

€ ‘000

€ ‘000

Turnover

105,675

107,615

Expenditure

(94,795)

(100,286)

10,880

7,329

Finance Income

1,497

1,466

Finance Payable

(1,845)

(1,724)

Net Profit for the period

10,532

7,071

page 16

Profit from Operations

Table 2

Summary of financial results

The financial performance during 2021 resulted in a cumulative profit of €7.1 million, meaning a decrease of 33% over 2020. This dip in profits was primarily attributed to an overall 5.5% increase in expenditure. The WSC’s continued investment in its human resources and talent resulted in a 3% increase in the salaries and wages cost. Additionally, the commissioning of the Sant Antnin farm waste treatment plant meant that the operations and maintenance costs of the sewage treatment plants increased by 9% over last year, reflecting the increased activity.


Annual Report 2021

and maintenance costs up by 20%. Finally, more Corporate investment resulted in a 38% increase in actual capital expenditure with a subsequent 2% rise in depreciation costs. However, notwithstanding the above-mentioned increases, the total expenditure for the same period remained within 4.5% of the allocated budget.

The regional departments also saw similar increases in activity, whereby increased jobs carried out and more accurate job sheet reporting drove repairs

Figure 8

Expenditure per Category – 2020 vs 2021 2020 vs 2021 Expenditure by Category Wages & Salaries Depreciation Electricity Repairs & Maintenance

2020

Billing Operations

2021

Other Recurrent Expenditure Motor Vehicles Expenditure Interest Payable Operation & Maintenance of ROs 0

10 M

20 M

30 M

page 17

Operation & Maintenance of STPs


Figure 9

Total Expenditure – 2020 vs 2021 Total Expenditure 10000000 9000000 8000000 7000000 6000000 5000000 4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Total Expenditure 2020

May

Jun

July

Total Expenditure 2021

Total cumulative revenue for the year resulted in an increase of 1.7% over 2020. This can be largely attributed to a 2%

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Total Budget Expenditure 2021

cumulative increase in billed service charges, a 1% increase in billed water consumption, and other revenue arising mostly from new service charges up by 2%. The larger billed consumption was largely attributed to better billing efficiency up from 61% to 63%. (NRW)

Figure 10

Billed Sale of Water, year-on-year

page 18

Billed Sale of Water 8000000 7000000 6000000 5000000 4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0 Jan

2019

Feb

Mar

2020

Apr

May

2021

Jun

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec


Annual Report 2021

Out of all three consumer categories, domestic accounts suffered the biggest cumulative decrease of 8%. The shift towards residential consumption resulted in a cumulative increase of 4% by the end of December. Non-residential billing increased by 4%, shifting the cumulative trend line from a decrease of 10% by the end of the first quarter.

Figure 11

Cumulative Sale of Water by Category, year-on-year Cumulative Sale of Water by Category: Year-on-year Non-Residential 2021

Non-Residential 2019

Domestic 2020

Residential 2021

Residential 2019 0

5

Service Charge

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

Consumption

Corporation’s position remained healthy, with the acid test standing at 1.28 at the end of the year under review.

The financial outlook of the Corporation’s revenue streams for the coming years remains positive. However, increases in the prices of raw materials and shipping costs are expected to continue pushing up our costs. To mitigate this, management is committed to enhancing controls and launch further cost-saving measures for efficient cash management and the re-negotiation of overheads contracts. Performance analyses and control measures are high on the Corporation’s agenda to the extent that a specifically created section is tackling these.

page 19

The Corporation’s healthy cash reserves accumulated in previous years proved essential in the past year. These healthy reserves ensure security of supply in the case of critical stock, without which works are endangered, as well as increase WSC-funded capital investment, which is up by 38% over 2020. To this effect, cash reserves decreased by 39% year on year. Notwithstanding, the

10


Procurement The number of procurement requests last year was unprecedented. This follows on the business plan’s first year of implementation along

with the ongoing Net Zero EU-funded project. The procurement department received 216 procurement requests, a 5% increase over the previous year. Moreover, an additional 105 requests initiated in 2020 were carried forward to 2021. Therefore, in effect, 321 requests were processed last year.

Figure 12

Procurement Requests Handled during 2021 at Publication Stage

Procurement Requests: Publication Stage YoY

Carried Forward

Discontinued before Publication

Published

0

2020

50

100

150

200

250

2021

Figure 13

Procurement Requests Handled during 2021 at Award Stage

page 20

Procurement Requests: Award Stage YoY

Carried Forward

Cancelled

Awarded

0%

2020

10%

2021

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%


Annual Report 2021

Out of all procurement requests handled, 193 were published in 2021, an increase of 6%. Additionally, 57% of all published procurement requests were awarded and contracted, up 16% over the previous year. In 2021, the value of the awarded contracts jumped by 88% to €43 million.

The procurement office will increase the use of the dynamic procurement system (DPS) for multiple repeat supplies as well as works. This will lower the number of procurement requests by grouping similar requests while ensuring that supply remains unaffected due to, for example, shipping disruptions. Besides launching a number of new policies and procedures enhancing good governance and process efficiency, management is committed to re-train employees involved in different parts of the procurement decision-making process.

Supply Chain and Warehouse Management The Corporation continued to focus on stock management, particularly forecasting stock demand and using exponential smoothing techniques to mitigate against market fluctuations and demand uncertainty. This tool has never been so important in view of the global supply chain challenges brought about by the pandemic. The total value of demand for materials was €13.3 million, covering 2,638 stock items. This is 36% more than the previous year. This reflects a substantial increase in operations, as shown in figure 6 below, which depicts the year-on-year change in value and quantity of the ten most

demanded materials, representing approximately 50% value of the total demand for the year.

Notwithstanding this increase in demand and the supply chain disruptions, the Corporation managed to control its material and eliminate out-of-stock cases of critical stock items. This proved essential in improving internal and external stakeholder relationships whilst minimising inconveniences to our customers. Apart from aggressive yet intelligent buying, which saw our inventory increase in value by 27%, this was also achieved by implementing new controls and enhancing workflow processes, namely by:

Establishing an Emergency Response Unit

Introducing cycle counting

Forecasting to mitigate against demand uncertainty page 21


Figure 14

Inventory Demand: Year-on-year change Inventory Demand: YoY Change 1.4

1.2

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

-0.2

-0.4

-0.6

The Corporation started building a warehouse in Bulebel, and works are proceeding to plan and are expected to be ready by the end

65 M M

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TR AN EO N

D

C AT IO

IT T SM

C SO 54 5 N IE D

PE PI

EM IT

ER

T KE

H LO C IC RR FE

page 22

TX 1

M M

RI D

E

-0.8

Value Change

of 2022. Procurement procedures for the internal services and finishes, together with the shelving and equipment, are in their final stages before publication. This warehouse will consolidate existing storage facilities whilst ensuring that the Corporation’s stock is adequately secured.


Annual Report 2021

Figure 15

The Corporation Demographics, as of 31 December 2021

Human Resources

Pandemic induced challenges continued to affect our Human Resources. Nevertheless, the WSC created intelligent working methods to continue providing seamless operations. Various mechanisms were developed to ensure employee safety whilst maintaining a measurable highquality output.

Males 85%

Females 15%

Figure 16

Employees by Area of Employment, as of 31 December 2021

page 23

Following an employee satisfaction survey, the Corporation launched its three-year human resource strategy, whose primary focus is employee engagement, despite the many challenges. The existing recruitment, retaining and reward policies were maintained. This included the effective implementation of the major restructuring process aligning the Corporation’s human resources with its long-term strategic goals based upon the rolling business plan.

Technical/Industrial 72%

Administrative 18%

Professional 8%

Managerial 2%


Figure 17

Average Age, 2020 vs 2021 Average Age: YoY

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Administrative

Average Age in 2021

Technical / Industrial

Professional

Managerial

Average Age in 2020

page 24

Figure 18

The Corporation issued 38 calls for applications, resulting in 140 career growth opportunities, meaning that 12.6% of our employees improved their position. This represents a 26% increase in career growth compared with the previous year. In addition, progressions were registered throughout all scales of the Corporation across professional, technical, and administrative grades.

Distribution of Productive Hours in 2021

Office Hours 89%

Sick Leave 5%

Telework 4%

Quarantine 1%

Injury Leave 1%


Annual Report 2021

Total person-hours available to the Corporation decreased by 2% over 2020. This decrease is partly due to natural attrition, along with 17,615 hours of quarantine leave availed throughout 2021. The latter amounted to 1% of the total available working hours to the Corporation. On a more positive note, injury leave was 9% lower than in 2020. In addition, sick leave as a percentage of total available hours dropped by 0.5%.

Finally, a most remarkable achievement was undoubtedly the coming into effect of the Collective Agreement with the General Workers’ Union, covering the Corporation’s employees till 2024. This resulted in a revision of the conditions enjoyed by employees, as it recognises efforts put in over and above one’s call of duty.

In the coming year, the Corporation intends to invest in employee engagement through various measures, the most notable of which is a major upgrade to the existing Human Resource Information System (HRIS) to automate processes and increase efficiency across the board.

initiatives were mainly carried out in conjunction with the Energy & Water Agency (EWA) and benefited the educational sector primarily. Three schools requested WSC’s assistance with all projects carried out within the same year. In addition, the CSR team also assisted Caritas with minor civil works carried out to the organisation’s administration building.

Corporate Social Responsibility The Corporation is continuously looking for initiatives through which it can contribute back to the community it forms part of. Corporate social responsibility page 25


Projects and Support Services In 2021 the WSC managed to deliver projects worth €16.4 million in EU funds as part of the ‘Towards a Net Zero-Impact Utility’ project

consisting of eight important major projects as per the chart below. As can be seen, most of the disbursement was for the expansion of the New Water project across Malta and Gozo and the Ta’ Qali-Pembroke tunnel connection.

Figure 19

EU Funds Disbursement

New water project Sewer upgrade projects Sant Antnin Retrofit Ground Water Qrendi to Qattara Ta’ Qali to Pembroke Tunnel RO Upgrades

page 26

Hondoq RO

1.

Ground water

€ 39,309.84

2.

Qrendi to Qattara Primary Network System

€ 1,237,984.33

3.

Ta’ Qali – Pembroke Tunnel

€ 4,750,781.66

4.

RO Upgrades

€ 441,410.04

5.

Hondoq RO

€ 504,662.92

6.

New Water Project

€ 6,536,511.88

7.

Sewer Upgrade Projects

€ 1,930,499.54

8.

Sant Antnin Retrofit Project

€ 1,005,474.05

Total

€ 16,446,634.26

Table 3

EU Funds Disbursement figures


Annual Report 2021

Upon inauguration, our new RO plant at Hondoq in Gozo started improving the quality of water supplied to our consumers. This 11 million Euro investment will also provide autonomy for Gozo’s water production and supply. Another major project, the Ta’ Qali-Pembroke Tunnel, was successfully bored, and works that include concreting and more than 16 kilometres of pipe-laying started immediately after. These works include connections to WSC’s main reservoirs will increase the blending potential of our main water reserves. Once finished, this €24 million EU co-funded project will deliver improved water quality to large swathes of our network whilst also reducing the related distribution energy costs.

Further trenching projects related to New Water, potable water & sewer networks were awarded and/or implemented. Two New Water phases in the south and another in the north of Malta were completed, while the remaining phases in the south and the network being laid in Gozo will be completed in 2022. Four additional New Water network projects were awarded in 2021, most of which are expected to be completed in 2022. The Qattara potable water and borehole collection system project is expected to be operational in 2Q2022. Major sewer projects both at Zabbar and Rabat faced some unanticipated challenges to ensure the protection of historical artefacts during works. The

Figure 20

Historical artefacts unearthed at Zabbar

Corporation worked together with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to document and preserve these archaeological findings. Despite the delays, these projects are targeted to be completed in the next few months. Just over 37 kilometres of water, sewer, and New Water pipes were laid in 2021, a marked increase of 50% over the previous year. Another 76 kilometres of primarily potable water mains were laid in collaboration with Infrastructure Malta and other entities. The recent agreement reached with Infrastructure Malta on how best to align priorities is making a difference, a positive one for WSC and its customers. These

Figure 21

New Water Network Pipelaying

page 27


works were all certified by WSC personnel to guarantee the quality standards required.

Infrastructure Malta is our largest external stakeholder, with over 130 coordinated projects in 2021 alone. Today one can safely say that there is improved cooperation between WSC’s project managers and IM’s team, resulting in a positive impact on project implementation. Faster feedback, decision-making, and tackling issues that arise on site help prevent delays and finish off projects, ensuring less

inconvenience for both residents and the public. This system is proving to be effective and efficient, with the best use of available resources.

A lot of effort is being put into improving the infrastructure’s quality. The Project Management Office was continuously challenged to deliver projects on time, within budget and to high standards. As a result, it successfully reached all its KPI quality targets for this year, reducing first-time test failures by 66%.

To further improve quality WSC has embarked on a project to certify the employees in the industry, including our own but for the first time inviting third parties to get involved directly in our training. After successfully launching the works operating manual in 2020, a dedicated WSC specific course schedule was completed. Following its successful accreditation, the delivery of the said course is expected to start in 2022.

Figure 22

Upgrade of booster - Naxxar

page 28

Technical Support Section The Technical Support Services section comprises multidisciplinary employees, led by professional engineers and an architect, providing mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering services. The section completed numerous WSC or EU-funded works in the year under review. The section upgraded three booster sites in the water distribution network at Naxxar, Mrejnu, and Dingli.


Annual Report 2021

Figure 23

Typical water upgrading works at Naxxar. Similar works were carried out at Mrejnu and Dingli

page 29

In sewage transfer, it commissioned two new pumping stations at Gharghur and Sa Maison. A new 900kVA standby generator for Birzebbuga WWPS was installed and is expected to be commissioned in 2022.


Figure 24

The new generator at the Birzebbugia Wastewater Pumping Station

Figure 25

page 30

Pumping station at Sa Maison


Annual Report 2021

In sewage treatment, the section was also involved in overhauling the grit and grease and primary bridges at Sant Antnin STP. Modifications were completed on the New Water distribution system, specifically at Bidni and San Anard reservoirs. Furthermore, the SCADA section completed around 500 instrumentation calibrations across 143 water production sites. The mechanical workshops at Kordin strived to minimise pending requests and to respond promptly. The civil engineering section was also key to completing upgrades at Barkat Sewage Treatment Plant and SASTP.

The section also cleaned the Santa Marija water reservoir, during which it also fixed a significant water leak.

Figure 26

Upgrades at Barkat STP and SASTP

page 31


Figure 27

page 32

Cleaning at Sta. Marija Reservoir

During the year under review, TSS also ramped up its energy-saving activities. A case in point is a €1.65 million capital investment in new wastewater pumps that deliver superior clog-free operation with minimal maintenance and substantial energy savings. Around 40% have been installed, and energy savings of around 35% to 40% were reported at

the Mgarr and Pembroke WWPS. Some pumps are also equipped with cesspit self-cleaning facilities that are set to reduce vacuum cleaning callouts by up to 80%. At Srina WWPS, this technology reduced energy consumption by up to 56%, and it eliminated vacuum cleanings and pump blockages altogether in the period under review.

The section is also prototyping an active energy management system which automatically computes a pump energy indicator (PEI). This system will assist with predictive maintenance by facilitating the early detection of pump failures.


Annual Report 2021

Figure 28

Predictive maintenance made easier Xghajra WWPS - PEI 14000

12000

10000

8000

6000

PEI 4000

PEI_AVG

2000

0 100

300

400

500

600

with the above, the tender for drafting technical specifications for the refurbishment of our Reverse Osmosis and Wastewater plants is expected to be published during the first half of 2022 with actual works planned for 2023.

page 33

In 2022 we will ramp up refurbishing works on WSC water pumping stations and our premises in Kordin. Along

200


Fleet Management The fleet section is responsible for ensuring better management of the fleet that comprises a mixture of light vehicles, vans, trucks, and other heavy vehicles. The Corporation is aiming for better vehicle use to lower operating costs through better planning. Weekly reports are compiled to

maximise the fleet efficiency of the seven directorates of the Corporation.

The Corporation’s current light vehicles will be replaced by electric vehicles, hence reducing CO2 emissions.

Solar PV Panels WSC continued investing in renewable energy sources. Back in March 2018, we connected the first PV farm at Fiddien with a power rating of 1MWp, generating 1,600,000 kWh/year. During 2021 WSC launched PV farms at Qrendi and Ta’ Cenc reservoirs.

page 34

Qrendi has a capacity of 658 kWp, while Ta’ Cenc reservoirs were subdivided into two parts. The first part (Res. 1, 2, and 3) has a capacity of 610 kWp, while the second part (RES. 4) has a capacity of 677 kWp. All three sites have an approximate energy generation of 1,000,000 kWh/year.

During the second half of 2022, Ta’ Qali Reservoir works will start. A 1MWp PV plant will be installed, generating 1.6MWh per year.

Figure 29 PV Farm at Qrendi Reservoir

The Corporation will be investing in a vehicle tracking system to help monitor operational costs, fuel and energy consumption through easy-to-understand dashboards and reporting to increase security and drivers’ safety in real-time.


Annual Report 2021

Distribution & Networks

Water Operations

In keeping with WSC’s Business Plan 2020-23, a study of the north, central and south water operations regional hubs was conducted to include an analysis of such parameters as number of customer accounts, number of service connections, length of networks and job notifications for each region. Other factors that the study took into consideration

page 35

Several initiatives were completed during a period characterised by incremental improvements, and more are underway that will further enhance our service to customers, increase efficiencies, and strengthen our qualitative leadership. The Distribution and Networks directorate has been focused on addressing overall growing customer demands, changing expectations, and gearing up for challenges posed by the cumulative impacts of larger stresses on the carrying capacity of its existing water and sewer infrastructure.

The water operations units focused on providing an accelerated and efficacious customer service whilst ascertaining that key metrics were kept equally in check.

include traffic density, the density of water connections, and the ratio of water accounts to connections. The conclusions of this study proved the trend noticed over previous years that pointed to a load imbalance to the detriment of the central region. Following the study’s recommendations and months of business and management handover between respective regions, the locality of Qormi shifted from the operational responsibility of the central to the north region in a move meant to improve uniformity amongst Regions and boost output.

% Customers

% Service Connections

% Distribution Mains

% Notifications Received

% Jobs Required

North Region

32

32

38

33

34

Central Region

39

33

30

37

33

South Region

29

35

32

30

33

Region

Figure 30

Improved uniformity amongst Regions


Regional ILI

by the WSC or led by Infrastructure Malta to replace old, problematic infrastructure in a relentless effort to minimise network failure.

The leakage control teams continued to improve and focus on reducing leakage levels across all areas. These efforts included extending zoning works to replace valves and meters, creating new district metered areas to localise leaks better, and implementing numerous roadwork projects. The last point was either spearheaded

The international Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI) is taken very seriously, and in 2021 a new record level was recorded. An overall average ILI of 1.84 compares favourably with the 2020 ILI value of 1.87, placing Malta internationally in a very enviable position. The graph below depicts 12 months of leakage levels.

Figure 31

12 months of leakage levels 750 700 650 600 550 500 450

page 36

400 350 300 250 Jan

Feb

2008 2015

Mar

Apr

2009 2016

May

2008 2017

Jun

July

2011 2018

Aug

2012 2019

Sept

Oct

2013 2020

Nov

2014 2021

Dec


Annual Report 2021

The graph below depicts the drop in ILI since 2004. Although ILI becomes ever more difficult to reduce as it approaches the 1.5 value, it is still gradually on the decline.

Figure 32

The drop in ILI since 2004 ILI 6.00 5.00

3.00 2.00 1.00

Gozo

Malta & Gozo

Malta

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2021

page 37

YEAR

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

0.00 2004

ILI

4.00


Discharge Permit Unit

page 38

The year under review was very productive compared to 2020 heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. DPU teams performed 4,876 inspections on various establishments across all types of industries. Apart from the routine inspections, DPU also carries out investigations of illegal discharges that are generally more complex and require collaboration with other WSC sections. A monthly subdivision of the inspections carried out can be seen in Table 4 below.

Month

Tot. no of Inspections

Permits Issued

New Industrial

New Catering

Renewal Industrial

Renewal Catering

Jan-21

451

218

6

14

52

145

Feb-21

437

238

10

15

47

166

Mar-21

345

218

10

11

53

144

Apr-21

456

198

5

11

73

109

May-21

531

234

4

17

92

121

Jun-21

392

198

1

8

52

137

Jul-21

334

165

3

8

30

124

Aug-21

292

216

6

14

40

156

Sep-21

255

109

0

9

26

74

Oct-21

522

248

4

17

84

143

Nov-21

514

193

5

14

70

104

Dec-21

347

172

6

7

47

112

4876

240

60

145

666

1535

2021 Totals Table 4

Monthly subdivision of inspections

The DPU’s main objective was permit renewals which numbered 2201 and, therefore, substantially higher than 2020. Moreover, the total number of entities covered by a valid permit by year’s end was also much higher (ca. +500) than the previous year. As a result, the total number now stands at 2,403 valid permits.


Annual Report 2021

New Water

The year saw significant expansion of the New Water network in Northern and Southern areas in Malta and Gozo. New Water distribution points rose to 46 in the north, 3 in the south and 6 in Gozo. Work on the subsequent three phases of New Water distribution network in the north of Malta is expected to start in early 2022, with contracts already awarded.

New Water customers were 1,129 (599 Maltese farmers, 511 Gozitan farmers, and 19 industrial customers) with a total cultivated area of 940 hectares in Malta and 586 hectares in Gozo.

Figure 33

New Water Customers Analysis 400

1200

350

1050

300

900

250

750

200

600

150

450

100

300

50

150 0

0 2018

2019

2020

2021

4

5

3

2

5

Farmers Gozo

0

77

71

177

186

Farmers Malta

170

161

40

81

147

Cumulative

174

417

531

791

1129

page 39

Industry

2017


Spotlight on operations at Gozo’s Distribution and Network arm Operational throughput kept apace in groundwater production, reservoir management, water quality control, distribution, new services connections, and wastewater network management all the way to treatment plants. It was a record year with 1,121 new water connection requests, while it was another record for the wastewater pumping stations’ control/upkeep in complete prevention of any spillage to sea.

Figure 34

New servicesconnection connection requests in Gozo New services requests in Gozo 1121

900

page 40

630

2017

Summer peak volume demand of above 10,000 m3 per day proved most challenging, with water audit, potable water operations and groundwater personnel striving in their different roles in a concerted effort to sustain reserves at optimum levels.

609

2018

628

2019

2020

The Corporation embarked upon its own infrastructure projects in Gozo or twinned with the Ministry for Gozo and/or respective Local Councils. A total of 5,700m of water mains were laid, enhancing water distribution, quality and supply reliability. Additionally, 2,000m of

2021

wastewater mains were renewed or added, while a further 4,600m of New Water network extended over various sites in Gozo.


Annual Report 2021

Wastewater operations The wastewater operations units are responsible for maintaining a network, amongst others, comprised of over 1,550 km of sewer mains, of which 185 km are deemed as operationally critical. Sewer mains were flushed as part of a rigorous preventive maintenance program that reached its climax throughout the summer months; the closedcircuit television crews inspected more than 50 kilometres of sewerage mains.

In keeping with its commitments to bolster and upgrade its sewer

infrastructure, the Corporation built or upgraded several pumping stations, including those in Marsaxlokk, Marsa, Pwales, St Paul’s Bay, Bahar ic-Caghaq and Manikata. This ongoing investment resulted in significant pump efficiency, better energy optimisation, faster wastewater discharges, and less demanding cleansing of both pumps and pumping stations proper.

Likewise, faithful to its Business Plan 2020-23 objectives, 82% of the 6,969 trips undertaken by the Bowser Section arose from

an automated process triggered at the end of 2020. Plans are well underway to take this service provision cycle through to the next level of automation, to, amongst others, install sensors at each of these cesspools and link the whole network of such sensors to an internal monitoring/alert platform.

The success of the Distribution and Networks directorate depends on its employees’ dedication and skills, whose efforts are greatly valued.

page 41


Water Production

Production and Treatment

40,000,000

35,000,000

30,000,000

Water Production

Production / m3

25,000,000

20,000,000

15,000,000

10,000,000

Potable water production in 2021 was 34,275,652m3, fiftynine per cent of which was by the Corporation’s seawater reverse osmosis plants (20,082,401m3), while forty-one per cent was groundwater production abstracted from the water table.

5,000,000

0 2018

2019

Pumping Station Production

Figure 35

2020

Borehole production

2021

Desalination / RO

Ground Water/RO Production Trend

Figure 36

page 42

Ground Water / RO

Portable Water Production Source / m3

Ground Water, 14,193,251, 41%

Desalination / RO, 20,082,401, 59%


Annual Report 2021

Quality of Water Blend

The chloride level of blended water currently stands at an average of 500 parts per million (ppm). The WSC is committed to improving water quality by reducing chloride levels by 20% during 2022. This means that 14% more RO water will have to be produced, whereas groundwater abstraction will decrease by the same rate. The blend ratio for next year is projected to be 64% RO to 36% GW.

Increased Water Production Capacity

Another new train at Lapsi of 3,800m3/day capacity will also be commissioned, thus increasing the total extra production capacity in 2022 to 12,800 m3/day.

Groundwater

Abstraction from Groundwater sources will continue to decrease in the coming years. A number of boreholes that have not been in use for many years will be recommissioned to relieve the stress on localised water abstraction sources and widen the abstracted area. The spatial distribution project aims to improve abstracted water quality and protect the water table in the long run. In 2021 three groundwater sources were reactivated, while in 2022, twelve more boreholes are planned to be reactivated. Twenty-five boreholes will be reactivated, thus increasing groundwater sources by 30% with lower total abstraction.

using pumping equipment that consumes 20% less energy than the current equipment used in other plants.

Another distinctive feature of this particular plant is that the reject brine is not discharged onto the shore but out to sea through a 360-metre long-submerged outfall, dispersing at the seabed through a series of efficient diffusers intended to minimise the impact on the environment and safeguarding the beach.

The Hondoq Plant will dramatically improve the water quality in Gozo and increase the security of supply. The prior dependency to pump water to Gozo from the Cirkewwa plant via a submarine pipeline, subject to damage in stormy weather, is now a thing of the past.

Water Reserves

Hondoq RO Plant Reverse osmosis production was increased by 8,300 m3/ day by adding a new train with a capacity of 4,500m3/day at Pembroke and another new train at Lapsi with a capacity of 3,800m3/day. Production capacity will increase considerably once the Hondoq plant in Gozo is fully commissioned and more upgrades in the Malta plants are finalised.

This first seawater RO Plant in Gozo, having a maximum capacity of 9,000m3/day, was inaugurated in November 2021. It currently produces water under test conditions and is expected to be fully operational by mid-2022. The plant will have the lowest projected energy consumption

A number of potable water reservoirs were inspected and repaired during the period under review. These are the reservoirs at Fiddien in Rabat, Naval at Luqa, Santa Marija and Ta’ Qali at Attard. We aim to increase potable water reserves across the country, thereby improving the security of supply. The Naval reservoir at Luqa is planned to be re-commissioned by mid-2022.

page 43

Desalination Plants


Figure 37

Naval Reservoir Inspection Figure 38

Santa Marija Reservoir emptying and cleaning


Annual Report 2021

Figure 40

Ta’ Qali Reservoir inspection

page 45

Figure 39

Santa Marija Reservoir refilled after cleaning


Waste Water Treatment and “New Water” Production Figure 41 - Barkat Sewage Treatment Plant

Figure 41

Ta’ Barkat Wastewater Treatment Plant

Barkat Sewage Treatment Plant

During 2021 the plant treated 15.5 million m3 of wastewater and produced 23,207 tons of sludge which were disposed of in the landfill. The treated wastewater is either discharged to sea through a 1km pipeline or processed further through the polishing plant to become “New Water”. The South polishing plant produced 306,005 m3 of New Water.

page 46

Before sludge is dewatered, it is processed by bio-digesters to produce biogas for energy. In 2021 the plant generated 3.55 GW/h of renewable electricity from biogas, which was used to power around 20% of the plant’s overall energy requirements, while the thermal heat generated is used to heat the bio-digesters.

Gozo Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant

The plant treated 2 million m3 of wastewater and produced 10,778 tons of sludge disposed of in the landfill.

Figure 42 Gozo Sewage Treatment Plant


Annual Report 2021

Around 277,605 m3 of New Water were produced by the Gozo polishing plant in 2021, a significant 35% production increase compared to the previous year. Moreover, the plant improved operations resulting in additional energy savings.

During 2021, the Gozo farmyard waste treatment plant, commissioned in 2018, treated 46,242 cubic metres of animal

waste. We reduced our use of chemicals by 25% after successful technical interventions that stabilised the sludge dewatering process.

Iċ-Ċumnija Wastewater Treatment Plant During the same year, the plant treated 3.2 million m3 of raw

sewage and produced 3,394 tons of sludge which were disposed of in the landfill. Treated effluent exits through a coastal discharge point.

The polishing plant supplied 831,407 m3 of high-quality New Water for agricultural use, a 6% increase over the previous year. This was possible by operating the plant continuously on a 24-hour basis through a successful, fully automated control strategy.

page 47 Figure 43 Ċumnija Sewage Treatment Plant


Sant Antnin Farmwaste and Wastewater Treatment Plant Farm Waste Treatment Plant

Figure 44 Receiving Area

page 48

During 2021, the farmyard waste treatment plant facility, which was commissioned in April, treated 24,153 m3 of animal waste. The maximum monthly farm waste treated in 2021, approximately 3,700 m3, was in November and was transported by 230 bowsers. On average, 103 m3 of farm waste was treated daily (excluding Sundays) during 2021. Moreover, 1,172 skips of farm waste solid fraction were produced.

Figure 44 - Receiving Area

Figure 45 – Waste Separator

Figure 46 Solid Fraction Discharging Area

Figure 45 Waste Separator


Annual Report 2021

Figure 47

Monthly farm-waste treated at Sant Antnin, M’Scala Manure Treated at Sant Antnin Farmwaste Treatment Facility - M’Scala 4000

3500 3000

Cubic metres

2500

2000 1500

1000

500

0 Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

page 49


Refurbishment works at Sant Antnin Wastewater Treatment plant

The plant in Marsascala was refurbished using the latest energy-efficient wastewater treatment technology and is currently in advanced testing and commissioning phases. Once operational, it will increase the Southern region’s catchment treatment capacity by 17,000 m3 per day. Various refurbishment works at Sant Antnin were carried out in preparation for the commissioning of the new MBBR plant, and operational testing started during the last quarter of 2021. These works included:

• Refurbishment of the grit and

page 50

grease chamber – overhauling the bridge mechanism, motors,

Figure 48 Grit & Grease Chamber

blowers, compressors, elevator and penstocks and also installing new guide rails.

• Reconditioning of the primary

settlement tanks – overhauling the bridge mechanism, penstocks, and installing new guide rails.

• All pumps and various pipework around the plant were overhauled or replaced.

• Mechanical parts of both clarifiers were replaced, and concrete repairs were carried out.

• Aeration lanes penstocks were completely overhauled.

• Pipework and valves for the

recycling and the final effluent pumping stations were completely replaced.

• Various electrical panels

serviced or completely rebuilt.

• General housekeeping of the plant.

This plant will be commissioned by mid-2022 and, once operational, will alleviate pressures on the Barkat treatment plant, thus improving effluent quality. This will, in turn, also improve New Water production.


Annual Report 2021

Figure 50 Secondary Clarifiers

Figure 49 Primary Settlement Tanks

page 51

Figure 51 Secondary Clarifiers


Figure 52

Aeration Lane Penstocks

page 52

Recycling and the final effluent pumping stations

Figure 53

Plant Housekeeping

Figure 54

Plant Housekeeping


Annual Report 2021

Works at Barkat STP – the connection to transfer sewage to SASTP Ta’ Barkat Plant is interconnected to Sant Antnin plant through a 2.2km underground tunnel to ensure greater efficiency and operational flexibility. To pump sewage directly from the ta`

Barkat screens area to Sant Antnin Wastewater plant, a new system of 500mm diameter steel pipes was installed. This project included the building of concrete supporting columns and a steel

New pipework Connections at Barkat STP

Figure 56

New pipework Connections at Barkat STP

page 53

Figure 55

supporting structure. New fittings and connections now connect the newly laid HDPE pipework between the existing pipework at Barkat and Sant Antnin plants.

Figure 57

HDPE pipework connections to the South polishing plant tunnel pipework


New Water Production

Figure 58

New Water Monthly Production - 2021 250,000

1,600,000

1,400,000 200,000

Production m³

1,200,000

1,000,000

150,000

800,000 100,000

600,000

400,000 50,000 200,000

0

Jan

Feb

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

GSTP - m3

4,229

11,254

21,954

29,843

34,491

39,850

46,649

42,944

27,615

7,878

4,988

5,910

NSTP - m3

36,177

66,243

79,049

81,581

80,735

86,860

94,045

104,540

87,490

60,950

26,950

26,787

SSTP - m3

5,373

6,212

13,013

17,331

18,092

41,410

58,066

45,300

56,698

30,747

13,763

0

Total

45,779

129,488 243,504 372,259 505,577 673,697

images page 54

Mar

872,457 1,065,241 1,237,044 1,336,619 1,382,320 1,415,017

0


Annual Report 2021

Quality Research & Development The WSC is ISO9001, and ISO14000 certified and follows a documented system type of management. These standards are well recognised internationally and put our clients’ and customers’ minds at rest regarding the way we operate and the quality of our services. As part of these standards, regular internal audits are performed during the year, as well as an annual external audit by assessors.

In 2021 thirty-seven internal audits were conducted, resulting in 34 corrective actions. This commitment left a good result as in the external audit conducted by SGS in September 2021, zero “non-conformities” and three observations were highlighted.

The WSC Laboratory is ISO 17025:2017 accredited, specialising in water and wastewater analysis. Most of the chemical and microbiological analytical tests are accredited, which means they are done under strict quality control systems. They are periodically

The analysis done by the WSC laboratory can be split into three main functions, namely:

1.

Process Monitoring - The analysis of samples taken from various stages of our processes. The internal clients are the WSC process people who use these results to monitor and adjust operations to ensure conformity to set specifications. Process monitoring also includes water leakages, certification of water following the laying of new mains, water dispensers and other internal investigations.

2. Legal Compliance - The

sampling and analysis of various finished products, which results are used to report to local authorities against legal obligations. Such legal obligations are derived from the European drinking water directive, urban wastewater treatment directive and water reuse regulations.

parties such as well water, swimming pools, compliance testing, sewage etc.

The drinking water directive was revised, and the Corporation is in line with the requirements and set deadlines, working hand in hand with Health Department. The WSC water safety plan is a risk-based approach that analyses the full lifecycle of the processes and all materials that come in contact with water.

No. of Samples

2021 Tap water Village points

1355

Water Reservoirs

264

Pumping Stations

215

Boreholes

946

Reverse Osmosis plants

959

Water Leakages

1578

Laying of new mains

519

Internal investigations

2538

Customer complaints

122

Private customers

3277

Sewage Treatment Plants

4692

New Water Monitoring

271

3. Commercial, which includes the analysis of water and sewage samples from third

Table 5

Number of Samples tested at Lab

page 55

Quality Control WSC Laboratory

cross-checked with external proficiency testing and certified reference materials to ensure results are credible. In 2021, three new accreditations were added to the scope.


Currently, the Corporation has 12 water quality zones, with each meeting the drinking water directive obligations. Quality is one of our driving pillars, and we’re continuously working to improve the quality of our tap water and ensure all consumers benefit from equal standards.

These are our quality improvement commitments in numbers: 2021

2022

2023

Chlorides(ppm)

500

400

300

Conductivity (uS/cm)

1900

1600

1200

Total Hardness (mg/L)

250

<220

<195

Table 6

Quality improvement commitments in numbers

page 56

Wastewater Monitoring

The WSC’s wastewater monitoring programme analyses all stages of the sewage treatment plants. Samples vary from raw sewage to treated effluent and serve both as process control and benchmark against the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD). The

UWWTD. In Gozo, a dedicated farm waste treatment facility to divert this particular waste away from urban sewage resulted in a 100% compliance with the above directive. At the San Antnin STP (part of Barkat complex), similar dedicated facilities were set up, and here, too, the WSC is working with all involved stakeholders to divert farm waste from the urban sewage.

Discharge Permit Unit samples sewage from industrial outlets to ensure compliance with sewer discharge control regulations.

Illegal discharging into the public sewer network (mostly farm waste) creates sewage treatment problems, which lead to non-compliance with the

2021

South STP

Gozo STP (Urban & Farm North STP Waste) (Urban Waste)

SASTP (Farm Waste)

Number of sewage samples analysed

3215

820

93

Table 7

Number of sewage samples analysed

564


Annual Report 2021

New Water Monitoring New Water is quality controlled by the Laboratory to prevent any risks to the environment or to human and animal health. Samples are drawn from treatment plants, reservoirs, and distribution points and analysed.

The results are currently compared to the minimum requirements for water re-use regulations (EU regulation 2020/741), and our New Water complies with quality class A, suitable for irrigating all food crops that are consumed raw where the edible part is in direct contact with reclaimed water and root crops consumed raw. 2021

South

Gozo Polishing Plant

North Polishing Plant

Number of NW samples analysed

25

103

123

Table 8

Number of NW samples analysed

Health and Safety

The Water Services Corporation (Quality, Research & Development) has teamed up with the University of Malta (Food Sciences and Nutrition) and secured funding with The Energy and Water Agency through the ReNewProgramme.

Without any doubt, 2021 was again dominated by the COVID pandemic, which saw much disruption to operations. In this regard, the H&S department was very proactive in setting up the necessary infrastructure, keeping abreast with changing protocols, educating, enforcing, and supporting all operations to ensure that WSCs essential services continued uninterrupted.

Project Purilma started in January and aims to study various water disinfection technologies and their effect on the taste and quality of potable water. Various source water types, such as groundwater and RO water, were chemically and sensorally characterised. This created the baseline for comparison with the new technologies to be tested during the coming months. Further research was conducted internally on process optimisation with promising results.

Forty-nine employees tested positive for Covid 19, a 20% increase on the previous year. With a strategic objective to redevelop Health & Safety, the H&S department worked on a new Health and Safety manual that covers as many areas of the Corporation’s operations as possible. This manual will be

used during training, starting from induction, and will cover corporate training sessions.

Compelled by the belief that “An injury to one is an injury to all”, the H&S department thoroughly investigates every injury to ensure that the root cause is identified and tackled. Furthermore, the department is supported by an independent injuries board that reviews injuries and recommends any necessary actions to be taken to prevent recurrences and ensure the speediest recovery of the injured employees. Health & Safety employees were also trained in accident investigation and reporting by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority.

There were 57 injuries on duty, a 7% reduction on the previous year, and 1,040 injury person-days, a 36% reduction from the previous year.

page 57

Research & Innovation


Figure 59

Injury Men Days 2019-2021 2500

2000

1500

1000

500

0 Start of year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

page 58

2019

May

2020

Jun

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

2021

H&S compliance inspectors constantly assess contracted works and internal operations to identify risks as early as possible, taking necessary corrective actions before accidents happen. The department continuously monitors so that any identified non-conformances become compliant in the shortest possible time.

The section carried out 1,352 construction site inspections and a further 1,656 WSC operation inspections during the year under review.


Annual Report 2021

Waste Management

Business Development

A large corporation like the WSC undoubtedly generates a lot of waste which includes construction, general, paper, plastic, WEEE, chemical, fibreglass and other waste. People often mistakenly think that waste is dumped in a skip - end of the story. But this is not the case, as waste management is becoming ever stringent, regulated, and expensive.

The business development section provided various services to third parties that included Laboratory, IT, waste services, water dispensers, and others. As a result, a 15% increase in revenue was registered when compared to the previous year.

The “We Are Water” initiative continued to gain popularity with respect to potable water dispensers, which help reduce plastic bottle use. Wall-mounted single-point water dispensers are now installed at the Corporation’s facilities as well as in hospitals & police stations. In a joint initiative with the Ministry of Education, we installed more than 150 WAW multipoint water dispensers in all public schools. These serve cold, filtered, high-quality potable water in a hygienic contact-free way.

With the aim of reducing wastegenerated costs whilst respecting our environmental responsibility, the WSC is educating employees about the different types of waste and the best ways of efficient disposal. The Corporation has been investing heavily in waste management to ensure that separation is done at the source and always strives to convert waste into revenue.

page 59

The Corporation spent €90,304 to dispose of 2,737 tonnes of waste which was 9% less cost than during 2020. Moreover, it sold 83.21 tonnes of scrap metal, earning €16,820, a 24% increase in revenue. Figure 60

The biggest waste problem that WSC faces is sludge generated by sewage treatment plants. This sludge was and still is landfilled. As a result, the Corporation began evaluating a number of options to reduce and possibly valorise such waste.

WAW Multipoint Water Dispenser

They are easy to use and have proved popular from day one. More dispensers are being installed in 2022. Our efforts have resulted in more than 814,300 plastic bottles not being used. At the risk of sounding patronising, let’s remember every bottle saved is a bottle whose plastic raw material was not imported, blow-moulded using electricity, distributed using road transport, and disposed of and re-collected as waste. So we are justifiably proud of our contribution to the environment.


Training and Development

professionals and operation managers have been trained on how to deliver training courses to facilitate in-house training in the future further.

Six hundred & thirty-two WSC employees were given jobrelated training. Training courses cover technical, health & safety, legal, personal development, administrative and sponsorships. In addition, all corporation

Keeping in mind our strategic objective to create, expand and commercialise training, the Corporation invested in our in-house Institute of Water Technology. This training hub enables experienced employees

to deliver training courses to our employees as well as to third parties and involved stakeholders. The IWT is now certified by the Malta Further & Higher Education Authority (MFHEA) to deliver accredited courses. One such course that will be rolled out in 2022 is on our distribution and collection networks, aimed at all employees and contractors involved in maintaining our networks.

Strategic Information page 60

Smart Metering One of the main SI projects was the Smart Metering upgrade, where an investment of €1.6 million was made to upgrade the Smart Metering head-end known as SITR. With this upgrade, the WSC moved away from the traditional way of doing things and adopted the SaaS (Software as a Service approach). The system upgrade included both new software and new hardware (RF Gateways).

This major upgrade brought a number of benefits, including:

Meters connected to the Smart Metering system increased from 86% to 88%, which means more meters are being billed automatically, with consumption data being collected remotely.

A 50% reduction in the time lag between data acquisition and data analysis.

An 84% reduction in meter associated errors - from 7% to 1% of all installations

Savings of €1.2 million.


Annual Report 2021

Figure 61

Smart Metering Upgrades Results 300

290

Thousands

280

270

260

Q1 2021

250

Q1 2022 240 Billable Meters

Meters with Transmitters

Meters reeceived over 10 days

Meters with Transmitters

Meters received over 10 days

Q1 2021

291,322

272,229

249,579

Q1 2022

299,073

283,595

263,416

page 61

Billable Meters


page 62

Association Operations sent to SAP

Status “OK”

Status not “OK”

Q1 2021

20,519

19,191

1,328

Q1 2022

12,009

10,488

133

This upgrade will enable the Corporation to address the Non-Revenue Water issue better, and an NRW-billing computational model was developed in-house. This model was key to reducing NRW from 39% in 2020 to 35.9% in 2021. The computational model was successfully tested on a small zone, and over a period of 12 weeks, the NRW of this zone was reduced to 13%.

The Strategic Information department conducted a research and evaluation exercise on big data warehouse technologies to eventually replace the Corporation’s core data warehouse. A prototype was built, and the preliminary tests showed an improvement in data processing execution speeds of around 75%. This would eventually lead to faster and more frequent Business Intelligence reports.


Annual Report 2021

Abnormal Consumption

Infrastructure and Security

Through the abnormal consumption detection algorithm developed in-house and deployed in 2020, the Corporation continued notifying customers whenever an abnormal consumption pattern is detected. Some 70 thousand notifications were sent, of which 60% were SMSs and 40% letters. From this initiative, an approximately 11,000,000 litres (5.5 million 2 litre water bottles) of water were saved.

Over the last few years, WSC invested over €2.5 million in its primary data centre in Luqa. To further improve business continuity and avoid on-premises critical system failures, a decision was taken to invest in a disaster recovery site (DRS).

Nowadays, critical business automated processes and systems, such as the SCADA, GIS, and customer care solutions, are replicated from the primary data centre to a cloud environment. Thanks to this investment, the recovery point object has been reduced from 24hours to 1h which translates to a 95% reduction in downtime.

Figure 62

Total Email Accounts Corporate Email Accounts 1200

1000

800

page 63

600

400

200

0 2020

Employee’s Corporate Email Accounts

2021


When it comes to cyber-security, reducing the possible entry points is critical, technically referred to as the attack surface. To improve cybersecurity, WSC engaged IBM’s X-Force Red to perform a vulnerability and penetration assessment.

All employees were provided with a corporate email account accessible from anywhere while also employing the recommended cypher suites and multi-factor authentication mechanisms to provide the required confidentiality and integrity.

The WSC also increased its investment in the security infrastructure by adding additional features to the current AI Enterprise Immune System. One of these features is email inspection and classification. Rather than measuring inbound emails against pre-defined rules and signatures, this new additional feature uses AI to understand the human beings behind the email interactions, learning their typical ‘life patterns’ to spot anomalous behaviour indicative of a possible threat.

Figure 63

External Emails

page 64

Total External Emails Processed

Total emails

1200606

Inbound

Outbound

767601

433005

Total emails


Annual Report 2021

Figure 64

Blocked Emails Malicious emails blocked 2021 25000

22500

20000

17400

15000

10000 6000 5000

2500 300

0

Spam

Extortion

1300 Spoofing

2900

3000

1900

Suspicious attachments

Strip attachment

Suspicious links

Blocked link

Junk

Hold message

2021 Email classifications

which enable communication with thousands of mixed vendors’ devices and instruments.

An Industrial Gateway software (IGS) was introduced that is a full-featured connectivity solution which is robust and reliable. The software is packed with the latest industry-standard protocols,

This system improved both the connectivity and the data-

collection performance between the server and the onsite devices. There was a significant 94% reduction in SCADA downtime from an average of 30 minutes to 5 minutes each time.

Figure 65

Yearly Scada Downtime Yearly SCADA System Downtime 1800

page 65

1600 1400

Minutes

1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 2020

2021


Systems Development The Corporation receives around 180,000 customer contacts yearly or approximately 500 customer contacts daily. The Corporation began a project to significantly upgrade the existing customer care management application to ensure higher customer care standards. This upgrade provides faster data and information retrieval and more automation, leading to a 90% faster notification creation.

Furthermore, the application also provides customer care agents with valuable customer-centric information, which is instrumental

in quickly identifying customer issues and providing support faster and more efficiently. It is estimated that this improved customer engagement platform will eliminate circa 50,000 repeat customer contacts per annum that we currently receive.

Business Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation The directorate introduced another 28 automated BI reports. These intuitive automated dashboards increased reporting efficiency by 90% and consolidated the data repository. There are currently

94 Power BI Viewers with a total interaction of 5,632 hits in 2021. This means an increase in automated report interaction of almost 40%.

In conjunction with the automated BI reporting, the WSC began a robotic process automation project and implemented its first prototype in the finance department to support invoice processing. This resulted in a 40% efficiency gain, full accountability and a human input reduction of 99%. Following this successful implementation, the directorate will start looking into other areas to introduce similar automated processes and improve efficiency and productivity.

Figure 66

Total Dashboard Catalogue

page 66

Automated BI Dashboards

2020

2021


Annual Report 2021

Capital and Recurrent Budget Estimates 2022 Forecast Statement of Comprehensive Income: 2021 vs 2022 80,000,000

70,000,000

60,000,000

50,000,000

2021 40,000,000

2022 30,000,000

20,000,000

10,000,000

SALE OF WATER

OTHER REVENUE

-10,000,000

GOVERNMENT DEFERRED SALARIES SUBVENTION INCOME & WAGES AMORTIZATION

ELECTRICITY

REPAIRS & MOTOR MAINTENANCE VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

O&M ROs

O&M STPs

OTHER DEPRECIATION NET BILLING RECURRENT OPERATIONS EXPENDITURE

Euro

Euro

Sale of Water

71,612,430

73,743,672

Other Revenue

4,238,641

4,943,404

Government Subvention

19,300,000

19,300,000

Deferred Income Amortization

11,497,384

11,591,039

Total Revenue

106,648,455

109,578,115

Salaries & Wages

33,767,286

34,331,537

Electricity

19,488,679

19,218,074

Repairs & Maintenance

9,906,166

11,650,101

Motor Vehicle Maintenance

2,186,885

2,592,608

O&M ROs

709,404

687,406

O&M STPs

4,266,882

5,430,000

Other Recurrent Expenditure

3,734,711

6,444,000

Depreciation

23,500,002

21,773,870

Net Billing Operations

7,003,482

3,913,866

Total Expenditure

104,563,498

106,041,463

Profit before Interest & Tax

2,084,957

3,536,651

Interest Payable

(1,688,256)

(1,296,720)

Profit After Tax

396,701

2,239,931

page 67

Forecast Statement of Comprehensive Income

INTEREST PAYABLE

Table 1

Forecast Statement of Comprehensive Income


Capital Budget 2021 vs 2022 14,000,000 12,000,000 10,000,000 8,000,000 6,000,000 4,000,000 2,000,000 Trench Meters

New Water

RO

GW

STP

IT

Corporate Services

Budget (2021)

Capex by Class

Budget (2021)

Budget (2022)

Trench

10,097,228

12,046,373

Meters

2,580,000

2,302,500

New Water

1,372,436

1,664,544

RO

2,177,286

4,223,572

GW

1,051,860

676,426

STP

1,995,422

1,409,214

IT

983,419

1,314,084

Corporate Services

1,598,746

1,571,000

TSS

1,158,800

948,545

Others

3,572,411

2,831,562

Total: WSC Only

26,587,609

28,987,820

Table 2

Capex by Class

TSS

Others

Budget (2022)


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