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The precarious state of the rivers of Malta. 1997. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 6, 343—8.


Malta has a dense population, with 330,000 residents and nearly a million tourists a year, in a 27 x 13km island.

The rivers deteriorated sharply between 1986 and 1993. The water table has fallen. Population movement away from towns, and more wealth, have increased valley destruction (building, quarrying, leisure activities), traffic pollution to rivers, rubbish dumping, the lowering of the water table, and the removal of historic features. Less land maintenance, plus less water, have allowed Arundo donax to overgrow many valleys, suppressing the traditional vegetation.

Key words
: Rivers, abstraction, infilled, overgrown, flood hazard, pollution.