Tunisia’s new strategy to ensure access to drinking water was adopted by the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources, and Marine Fisheries on November 4, 2023.
- The strategy aims to ensure access to drinking water for the population.
- A focus is placed on limiting arbitrary water use in agriculture, for watering green spaces, and cleaning streets.
Water Body Review:
- The Tunisian government plans to review the position of water bodies.
- The goal is to limit excesses and address problems related to water distribution and bill collection.
Desalination and Wastewater Reuse:
- The government is banking on desalination of seawater.
- Treated wastewater will be reused for irrigation, aiming to reduce pressure on the country’s drinking water supply.
- The new strategy includes campaigns to raise awareness about water’s importance as a source of wealth.
- Despite these efforts, concerns persist regarding water management and access to clean water in Tunisia.
UN Expert’s Call:
- A UN expert on safe drinking water and sanitation recently visited Tunisia.
- The expert called for improved water management, an end to overexploitation of aquifers, and a prioritization of drinking water.
Table of Contents
Funding and support
- The Tunisian government has secured funding from international donors to enhance the country’s drinking water supply.
- Notably, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the European Union (EU) have contributed €265 million out of a total €285 million for the water and sanitation sector.
Preserving Water Resources:
- The funding will support the implementation of five projects focused on preserving water resources in the face of challenges such as drought and flooding.
- A portion of the funding, specifically €12.40 million, has been allocated to the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Resources, and Fisheries.
- This allocation will be utilized for the implementation of two crucial drinking water supply projects.
World Bank Support:
- Additionally, the World Bank has played a role in providing funding to the public institution responsible for managing drinking water in Tunisia.
Treated Wastewater Program:
- The Tunisian government is actively engaged in an annual program to promote the use of treated wastewater for irrigation.
Network Performance Improvement:
- Efforts are underway to enhance the performance of the drinking water network.
- The focus is on reducing losses within the drinking water networks, particularly in the seven districts of central and southern Tunisia.
Quota Extension and Agriculture Ban:
- Tunisia has extended its tap water quota system and the ban on using it for agriculture until further notice.
- The decision is a response to a five-year drought, intensifying pressure on already depleted groundwater sources.
- The use of tap water for washing cars, watering green areas, and cleaning streets and public places is also prohibited.
- Violators may face fines and imprisonment for up to six months.
Social and Economic Impact:
- The decision to extend restrictions raises concerns about potential social tension.
- In a country already grappling with poor public services, high inflation, and a weak economy, these measures add to the challenges faced by the people.
- In March 2023, Tunisia implemented a quota system for potable water and banned its agricultural use until September 30, 2023, due to a severe drought.
- The ban on drinking water use in agriculture has now been extended until further notice.
- Despite these measures, the Tunisian government is actively working to ensure access to drinking water.
- Challenges persist, and ongoing efforts are needed to address them and guarantee access to clean water for all citizens.