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Identifying synergies between water management options to tackle global change in the Rmel river basin

Thursday, 02 June 2016 Posted in News, BeWater News, Rmel Society, Tunisia

Climate change is expected to lead to decreasing precipitation, increasing temperature and occurrences of extreme dry years in the Rmel river basin. These impacts, together with an expected increase in the use of water for irrigation, drinking water, tourism, and industry, represent important challenges for the future management of the river basin. A plan is now being developed by citizens and scientists on how to adapt the management of the Rmel river basin to these changing conditions in the future.


During a workshop on April 7th in Tunis, 31 participants discussed how management options could be implemented in an adaptation plan to address the challenges of climate change and other pressures on the Rmel river basin. The workshop explored how 19 water management measures identified in previous workshops can be combined and whether there are potential synergies and conflicts between them, as well as their implementation in practice. The participants of the workshop identified and discussed potential synergies and conflicts between the different suggested measures.

This approach generated a momentum for cooperation between stakeholders. The first analysis of the workshop outputs have revealed few differences between the matrix of the BeWater and the matrix completed by participants, yet the results were often logical: Most participants filled in the measures in short and medium term. Following the RBAP structure, the participants proposed developing the current state of the river basin and to dedicate a part for the future situation; they also suggested adding a chapter to the monitoring and evaluation through specific indicators of water management options. Now the bundles are validated by the stakeholders and the workshop results came up with a great conformity with the BeWater team results.

Researchers and engineers from the National Research Institute for Rural Engineering Water and Forestry (INRGREF) organised the workshop together with experts from Ecologic Institute in the context of the BeWater project. A diverse group of people participated in the workshop with participants being engineers, educators, administrators, policy makers and planners who covered various sectors such as agriculture, water resources, environment, private sector, associations, technical directions, irrigation, and development. The workshop was part of the series of the project events that are aiming to develop an adaptation plan for the Rmel river basin. In the first workshop, the participants, identified challenges related to water management and discussed options to deal with these challenges. In a second workshop and a consultation, no less than 19 options were refined and evaluated.

“These workshops help us to give a better idea about the current situation and policy framework in the basin and highlight aspects that need to be kept in mind when developing and implementing the management plans adapting the basin’s water resources to global and climate change. During the previous workshops, we discussed with stakeholders what options we have to adapt and prepare the Rmel river basin to various pressures and challenges, including climate change. Today we have looked at these options altogether and how they could be actually implemented in the field.” said Dr. Sihem Jebari, who is a researcher at INRGREF and is the case study leader of the Rmel river basin within the BeWater project. “Based on the outcomes of all workshops, we plan to finalise the adaptation plan for the Rmel by summer 2016” she added.

Similar workshops are carried out in three other river basins in the Mediterranean area, located in Cyprus, Slovenia and Spain. The four river basins cover different environmental and socio-economic settings within the Mediterranean area.


The BeWater Project receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. The project aims to develop River Basin Adaptation plans in the Mediterranean through citizen participation. For more information, please contact Sihem Jebari.


Photo credits: INRGREF