Stakeholders from the Rmel River Basin Participate in Water Management
The Rmel River Basin stakeholder meeting was held on 24 June, 2014 in the governorate of Zaghouan. The timing of the workshop was strategic, coinciding as it did with the emergence of democratic rules within the water resource community in the region.
The National Research Institute for Rural Engineering Water and Forestry (INRGREF) hosted the event which gathered around 30 participants, dealing directly or indirectly with the water. The participants included farmers, water user associations, official representatives, educators, environmental NGO's, members of the tourism and industry sectors and agricultural unions.
The day of the workshop was devoted to introducing the Bewater project and offered participants the chance to share their thoughts and views on challenges related to water management in the context of global change.
For the first time in Tunisia the voices of the stakeholders in water resource management were heard. During the meeting, different attitudes and reactions were observed and the involvement and commitment of the participant's during the discussions on options for managing water resources in the Rmel catchment scale was remarkable.
Upstream, downstream and entire basin groups broke with the old top down rules. They raised issues related to enhancing water productivity, securing the water storage capacity of the Rmel dam, devising water and soil conservation devices, creating water related jobs, promoting water saving irrigation techniques and pollution and environmental issues.
The group also highlighted community involvement in water sector decisions and strengthening participation, creating more eco-tourism activities and adopting an integrated water resources management approach at catchment scale. Aspects related to water taxes, prices and equity in sharing this vital resource, as well as the lack of institutions, were also part of the discussions.
This workshop was an important opportunity to consider water resources in Tunisia, which will be affected by global change. Recent studies suggest that Tunisia, one of the southern Mediterranean countries, faces a reduction in rainfall of around 20% and reduced runoff of up to 30%. The summer season will extend from 3 to 5 weeks and the water needs for irrigation purposes will increase by 40%. The vegetation will be less dense, land degradation will be more active and the trend toward greater aridity will be more important.
More information: Sihem Jebari: /
Photos: Sihem Jebari