Managing water resources and raising awareness
Title: Integrated management of water resources II (IWRM II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fishing
Overall term: 2016 to 2020
Water is a scarce resource in Tunisia. Its natural availability is subject to wide fluctuations. At the same time, demand for water is growing continuously and 80 per cent of the country’s water resources are used in agriculture. Tunisia traditionally uses surface water but, as it is insufficient to meet demand, groundwater resources are being increasingly exploited. The water table is receding - in some regions by as much as two metres a year. The population is not sufficiently aware of how critical the water resources situation is.
All relevant governmental, civil society and private sector actors contribute to improved management of water resources in central Tunisia.
The project helps to reduce water demand by encouraging more responsible behaviour among the Tunisian population. The partner at national level is the Ministry of Agriculture’s Bureau de Planification et des Equilibres Hydrauliques (office in charge of water planning and water balance). GIZ provides strategic and legal advice on the measures implemented by the ministry (national water strategy, new water legislation, overhaul of the court of arbitration in the water sector). Strengthening private service provision for water user groups is another field of activity.
The project also helps to build awareness among the population and supports the national water awareness campaign. Women and young people play a pivotal role in the awareness-raising measures.
At local level the project has helped to improve the management of conflicts over water in the Sbikha-Kairouan region. More than 600 persons have participated and agreed on the most important principles of sustainable water management, which are set out in a charter. To achieve this, 21 representatives of government authorities and the private sector were trained in conflict management, negotiation and arbitration in the water sector.
More than 2,500 persons have participated in awareness-raising events (World Water Day, information day on new irrigation technologies). Creative activities relating to the topic of water have been organised in 15 schools, reaching 500 children and their families. Fifty male and female ‘water ambassadors’ show their families, relatives and neighbours how to use water more efficiently.
Some 40 young people have been trained in the maintenance and repair of irrigation systems. Equipped with appropriate tools, they are offering their services to farmers’ cooperatives, which has also improved the labour market. In addition, the project has supported the installation of water-efficient equipment in schools and religious institutions.
In 2016 GIZ supported a dialogue between users, regional and local authorities, and civil society in very water-poor central Tunisia. Eighteen elected officials, more than 400 water users and around 200 members of government authorities participated in this regional water forum. The result was an action plan with common principles and specific water management measures aimed at preserving water as a resource for future generations. The plan of action is already showing identifiable positive results, with no social conflicts occurring in 2017 despite the drought and water scarcity.