Tunisia: Current Water Situation Remains Worrying Despite Recent Rainfall (Ridha Gabouj)

Tunis — The current water situation in Tunisia is still worrying, despite recent rainfall. The filling rate of dams stands at just 36%, Secretary of State to the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries in charge of Water Resources Ridha Gabouj said on Thursday.

The filling rate of the main dams supplying Greater Tunis, the Sahel and the capital has dropped. The Sejnane, Sidi El Barrak and Sidi Salem dams have fallen by 30%, 45% and 40%, respectively, added the official in a statement to the media, on the fringes of a conference-debate organised by the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies (ITCEQ) to present a survey on the macroeconomic effects of climate change.

"Since 2016, Tunisia has suffered from successive episodes of drought, with the exception of 2019, which has led to a fall in dam reserves," he pointed out.

He announed in this regard, that his department will extend the decision of March 29, 2023, on the introduction of a system of cyclical quotas and the prohibition of certain uses of water, until further notice.

He called on citizens to rationalise their water consumption and rethink domestic uses, pointing out the need to install water-saving equipment and rainwater harvesting tanks.

Gabouj further indicated that efforts are being exerted to desalinate seawater, brackish water and groundwater, underlining that the goal is to make use of 80% of the treated water.

He added that the production of desalination plants is currently estimated at 58 million m3 per year.

The minister said that his department is also working to create three desalination plants, including the Zarrat plant, which will produce 50,000 m3 per day, the Sfax plant (between 100,000 m3 and 200 m3 per day) and the Sousse plant (between 50,000 m3 and 100,000 m3).

Other plants will be set up in Zarzis and Mahdia, he pointed out, adding that these plants will boost water supplies and meet drinking water needs.

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