Many Maltese people were recently surprised to find out that a giant underground cave existed in St Julians, but following a recent Facebook post by the Water Services Corporation, it seems that there may be even more mysterious underground caves in Malta.
Now, exclusive photos of the hauntingly beautiful underground galleries at Ta’ Kandja near Siġġiewi have been released, showing a side to Malta that is so rarely seen: the intricate and connected underground system that provides Malta with its potable water.
“Chronologically, Kandja Pumping Station was the last groundwater abstraction station to be constructed by the British,” says Pablo Micallef, manager at the Water Services Corporation.
“The digging of the galleries and station shafts started in the early 1950’s and the plant itself was commissioned in 1963. Concurrently, another station limits of Zebbug namely at Ta’ Bakkja along the valley known as Wied Baqqija, was developed and started in 1957,” he says.
The statue of Jesus was installed in the 1950’s as well.
These pumping stations and resoirvoirs are connected through a series of links.
“The gallery systems of both these stations comprise of six galleries each, with the sixth one being about 3km in length and interlinking both stations radiating from a central pump,” says Pablo.
“Submersible pumps are installed which pump groundwater to distribution reservoirs with the Ta’ Kandja pumping station pumping to Qrendi reservoir and the Bakkja pumping station pumping to Ta’ Qali group of reservoirs where it is blended with desalinated water as well with other groundwater abstracted either from similar stations and also from groundwater boreholes,” he says.
The whole gallery system of the Ta’ Kandja pumping station alone extends to approximately 6.1km whilst that of the Bakkja pumping station spreads to 5.4km.
“The galleries are about 97 metres below ground level and they run just above the imaginary mean sea level,” says Pablo. “The access to the gallery level is through a passenger lift with a smaller lift available in case of emergencies. These lifts were installed in the early 1900’s and replaced the old and larger lift which serviced the access to the gallery levels since the early 1960’s. A stand-by generator is also available in case of a power shutdown.”
If you’d like to find out more information about Ta’ Kandja and other Water Services Corporation assets including the latest EU funded €100 million project, visit the WSC head office in Luqa to celebrate the World Water Day event which will be held on March 25th. During this event, the new corporate identity will be unveiled.