Regional cooperation in the water sector in the Maghreb

Project description

Title: Regional cooperation in the water sector in the Maghreb (CREM) (II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tunisia – Algeria – Morocco
Lead executing agency: Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022



Water resources in the Maghreb are barely sufficient to meet increasing demand. The growing population, increased agricultural production, industry and tourism all consume ever greater quantities of water. Rain, groundwater and surface water are unevenly distributed, and climate change is reducing the amount of water available further still. Experts from the region are therefore seeking new approaches and measures to preserve the region’s water resources by improving water resource management.


Regional cooperation between stakeholders in the water sector in the Maghreb region (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) is improved.



The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) have teamed up with the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) to implement the regional project on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project team organises meetings and establishes information-sharing platforms for those whose role is to manage water resources in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. This allows them to share both positive and negative experiences and to prepare joint projects involving the management of common water resources. The stakeholders from all three countries get to know one another better and work more closely together. In consultation with senior water resource managers in the three countries, the project compiles studies on the topic, holds expert workshops and organises study tours and joint visits to specialist conferences for its partners.

The project’s partners share examples of successful approaches and projects, identify effective solutions for integrated water resource management, compile them in a useful form and share them with each other. The topics relate in particular to analyses and perceptions of common challenges in the water sector. In addition, the project team is developing a system for exchanging information about the mechanisms of integrated water resource management. To this end, it is conducting parallel studies in the three countries and will use the results to develop suitable options for water resource management.



So far, three studies have been produced on the water resource situation in the three countries. They also reflect the current organisational landscape in those countries. Another study by the project team analysed water resource information systems and the processes for exchanging data between national institutions. The findings were presented at a regional workshop.

Three expert conferences – one in each country – have covered the topics of desalination, the use of treated wastewater and demand management.

On the basis of the conferences and studies, senior water resource managers in the three countries shared their national findings and experiences in order to avoid repeating negative experiences and to adopt proven examples of good practice.

A practical example: holding three expert conferences

An expert conference has been held in all three countries. Each was attended by around 100 representatives of research institutes, universities and administrations. Notably, this was the first time in the countries’ history that sensitive findings and information have been presented, exchanged and evaluated. As a result, the participants were able to develop a common understanding of the problems posed by the critical water situation in all three countries – and thus also in the wider region.


The water resources available in the Maghreb are scarcely sufficient to meet the rising demand resulting from population growth, higher agricultural production, increasing industrial use and tourism.
Since many countries in the region have already exhausted their potential for new water resources, the North African countries are now seeking to try new approaches and have committed to introducing integrated water resource management (IWRM).


The capacity, resources and efficiency of the specialised institutions responsible for sustainable water resource management in the Maghreb are enhanced. They use methods developed and experience gained in the region to implement integrated water resource management.


The regional project is being implemented in collaboration with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). The political partners are the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA).

GIZ is responsible for three core areas:

development of a knowledge management system to enable the three partner countries to share knowledge about IWRM;

development of an inter-institutional system to enable communication among the three partner countries;

documentation and dissemination of experience and methods for implementing IWRM in the partner countries.

Additional information