Water scarcity in Tunisia has rapidly become an issue of increasing concern in the country, with the worst drought on record prompting the government to implement drastic measures in an effort to ensure that everyone’s water needs are met. For example, SONEDE, the state water distribution company, recently cut off water supplies to citizens for seven hours every night to conserve resources.
The measures do not end there – the government has also imposed a ban on the use of potable water for irrigation, cleaning of public areas, and car washing. With years of drought, the water reserves in the country have been sectioned to an alarming level.
The measures, although necessary, have been met with criticism from citizens, who have complained about being subjected to unannounced water cuts at night since the start of Ramadan – increasing the overall stress during this time period. However, as extreme drought conditions are expected to continue, policymakers and citizens of Tunisia must come together and take proactive steps to responsibly manage the available water resources.
Currently, Tunisia has started to embrace more efficient irrigation techniques, such as drip irrigation, and is promoting water-saving practices, such as harvesting stormwater. These measures allow them to get maximal output with minimal input in terms of water resources. Furthermore, the Tunisian government is investing in research and development, such as the exploration of seawater desalination and reuse of wastewater, both of which have proven to be a successful solution to water poverty in the past.
Although these solutions offer a positive outlook for Tunisia, any success hinges on citizens, who must be made aware of the realities of the water crisis and begin adopting water-saving practices. It is only through effective education and the implementation of the aforementioned solutions that Tunisia can successfully battle water scarcity – it is a crisis that will require a collective effort from all parties.
Tunisia is facing a water crisis due to critically low dam levels, following years of drought and pipeline leakages that have hampered its distribution infrastructure. Senior Agriculture Ministry official Hamadi Habib has announced that the country’s dam capacity has dropped to just one billion cubic metres, a mere 30 percent of the maximum available. Farmers’ unions are voicing fears for the impending season – optimistic estimates predict that harvests are not even projected to reach the level necessary to provide seed stock for next year’s crop.
Anis Kharbech, the spokesman for the Federation, states that the “cereal season will be catastrophic” and that there likely won’t be any harvest produced. The domestic lack of agricultural produce will only be compounded by the skyrocketing international wheat prices that erupted following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
The Tunisian government is trialling strategies to counteract the mounting water crisis, including awareness campaigns that encourage responsible water usage among citizens. Agriculturalists are also testing out pioneering irrigation techniques, such as using treated wastewater for crop cultivation. The government is cooperating with green energy companies to set up solar-powered desalination units which will help process fish incubation liquefaction and supply potable water to farmers in the region.
Despite the implementation of plans, the problem of water shortage in Tunisia still remains a serious concern. Geographically situated as Tunisia is, annual rainfall alone will not suffice to make up for the amount of water presently missing. The government must take steps to address the underlying issues, such as revamping the decrepit distribution network, improving water harvesting and management structures, and prosecuting the activities which have caused the water pollution crisis in the first place.
As Tunisia strives to surmount the unfamiliar challenge of water scarcity, it is working to continue its place within the family of nations as a stable and productive member. The nation has invested heavily in research and is slowly, but surely adapting its water resource management techniques and regulations to an ever-changing reality.
Tunisia is a North African country which is highly dependent on agriculture. A main source of the nation’s income, the agricultural sector is responsible for 10 percent of Tunisia’s total gross domestic product (GDP). This value had been steadily rising until recently due to the country’s hot and arid climate but this may soon be put to the test, due to the increasing effects of global warming.
The country’s weather has become increasingly unpredictable over the last few years, resulting in frequent periods of drought, which have had a direct impact on harvests. This has caused a decrease in the yield of some of their main crops – such as olives, olive oil and wheat – which, in turn, has led to rising food prices and financial insecurity for the population.
Apart from bad weather and inadequate irrigation systems, Tunisia’s agricultural sector also faces a variety of other issues. For example, much of the land is owned by the government and leased to private sector actors on a short-term basis, making it difficult to invest in long-term and productive projects. Additionally, the industry is hampered by a lack of investment and support from the government.
To overcome this issue, the Tunisian government has introduced financial incentives in order to attract inward investment and encourage growth and development of the agricultural sector. Through these, it has encouraged large investments into the sector in order to modernise production and access new markets. The government has also introduced initiatives to promote agro-forestry projects and create financial support schemes such as microloans to help small-scale farmers in particular.
The adoption of technological innovations is also a key part of this strategy. Examples of activities include the use of modern equipment and machinery, and the introduction of irrigation systems which are low-cost and efficient. This has improved the productivity of the sector and diversified the production of products.
With increasing instances of climate change, the agricultural sector in Tunisia has become highly vulnerable. However, with the right approaches and sufficient investment, the sector has the potential to become stronger and more stable. Such changes are crucial to the nature of the nation’s economy.
Water scarcity is a major problem in Tunisia and is only expected to grow in the coming years and the primary cause of water scarcity is the rapid population growth which is outpacing the water supply. Other contributing factors include climate change, unsustainable agriculture, and pollution. If Tunisia wants to avoid a water crisis, it needs to take immediate action to address the root causes of water scarcity.