TUNISIA: Water Consumption And Public Consciousnes

Besma Maraoui

E- mail: b_maraoui@yahoo.fr

Bekalta Secondary School

Levels: 2nd Sec./ 3rd Maths


Project idea


A questionnaire

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3


Drawing 1

Drawing 2

Drawing 3






1- What are the different sources of water in your country?
The TunisianÝs resources in water are irregular and limited. They come mainly from precipitations. They are estimated for 4700 millions of cube meters in one year of water of which we find 2000 millions of underground waters. Surface water is produced mainly by different dams and represents nearly 54% of the total production in 2003. Ground water is produced by wells and represent 46% of the global production. Desalinated water represents 8% of this total ground waters. Otherwise, it  depends on many factors like salinity, unequal repartition of these resources in addition to the effect of the weather variations according to the area and the time.But, since few years, water in Tunisia has faced other problems such as the over exploitation of layers, dryness, desertification and the rise of the sea level.
This kind of environment makes the question of the water allocation between the different sectors more sensible and the most one which needs a quick answer.

Natural area

% of the surface

(Total = 36 billions of m3/an)

Distribution surface water
(Total = 2700 millions of m3/year)

Millions of m3


Extreme - north






































The repartition of the resources in Tunisia admits an unequal form.
This histogram shows that:
surface water

ground water

deep layers

Submitted by:  Moez Gaaloul

2- Are they enough to supply all the needs?(drinking / cleaning / agriculture / industry / tourism)? What is being done to solve the problem?

Water is essential to all life forms. It is the most precious resource because it is both rare and fragile.
           Although Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean, much of the countryÝs land surface falls within the arid zone. Tunisia has limited water resources, unevenly distributed in geographical and seasonal terms.
           Population growth and socio-economic development have meant a corresponding growth in water needs. The result is increasing pressure on the countryÝs capacity to provide this rare resource in sufficient quantities.
For generations, the country has developped skills to manage water scarcity resources in order to satisfy demand without having to ration water, even during the most severe droughts. Nevertheless, water is a priority, and it is clearly the key to future sustainable development across the country.
           Tunisia has realised a complex and diversified hydraulic infrastructure all over the country to mobilize and manage all water resources and implemented a management system and a progressive legislation in purpose to answer to all social and economic needs.
           The issue of sewage techniques and management clearly goes beyond the question of environmental protection and public health. The resource must be recycled in order to maintain a healthy water balance.






Drinkable water





water of irrigation





Touristy water





Industrial water





Submitted by:Mouez Gaaloul

The Soci╚t╚ Nationale d'Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux / SONEDE (National Water Distribution Utility) was created by the law No. 68-22 of July, 2nd 1968. It is under the supervision of the Minist╦re de l'Agriculture de l'Environnement et des Ressources Hydrauliques (Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Hydraulic Resources). It is a public entreprise of a non administrative nature.
SONEDE's object is to supply all the country with drinking water. It is entrusted with the exploitation, maintenance and renewal of facilities for water capture, transportation, treatment and distribution. Its mission covers the following main activities:
*Water production, treatment and transport.
*Water distribution: management and maintenance of drinking water network and equipment and management of customers.
*Development: studies, works and supply
To achieve these goals The SONEDE started by setting up of structures and adequate management modes for water resources and supply of large urban centres with drinking water, the main projects being: 
A 120 km long adduction to bring the waters from the Kasseb dam (north of B╚ja) to Tunis.
- The Tunis
- Cap Bon adduction. 
- The reinforcement of the network of Bizerte, Beja, Sahel, Sfax, Gabes, Djerba and the regions of the centre of the country.
- The elaboration of the Master Plan for the Waters of the North in order to transfer water from the North west to high comsumption centres situated on the littoral of the country.
- The reinforcement of transfer water facilities in the areas of Sfax and the South of Tunisia.
- The achievement of several drinking water supply projects in middle-sized urban cetres and rural villages.

Submitted by: Ibrahim Chaouch

3- Does scarcity affect the quality of water?
           It is important to note that the southern part of the country with a higher solar radiation  is the region where the problem of fresh water shortage is most acute.
           Recently, a number of research experiments have been undertaken (or are underway) in Tunisia for the study of coupling between desalination units and solar thermal Energy. Safi has coupled a multiple-stage flash distillation (MSF) plant with a solar pond. Bouguecha et al. Have performed a feasibility study of coupling between a multiple distillation and flashing  (MDF) plant and a solar pond for seawater desalination. A cogeneration desalination project has been conceived and consists of coupling an MSF plant for desalting seawater (capacity: 2500 m3 / d) to an already existing 25 Mwe gas turbine electricity generator .The innovative feature of this cogeneration project is the use of a heat storage pond for storing the waste heat recovered from the gas turbine generator. Ben Jabrallah and Belghith have investigated a solar distillation plant with a multiple-effect distillation configuration. Ben Becha et al. Have studied a solar multiple condensation evaporation cycle (SMCEC) plant for brackish water desalting.
            In Tunisia, a number of places with geothermal spring have been known for a long time, some of which have been used for bathing and therapeutic treatments (e.g., korbous, El-Hamma, and Hammam-Zriba). Recently, geothermal groundwater sources destined for irrigation are a priori used for heating agricultural greenhouse; as a result, a considerable increase in greenhouse farming has been recorded in recent years. Most geothermal sources in Tunisia have low enthalpy with maximum temperatures of 70-90 C. Nevertheless, the northwestern part of the country is characterized with a geothermal zone of high energy. Ben Dhia subdivided the country into five major geothermal districts. Recorded hot spring temperatures range from 21 to 73 C with flow rates of 0.1 to 401/s. Shows the regions of the country with known geothermal sources. These sources can be found not only in the northern part of the country where desalination is least needed, but also along coastal regions and in the south where the fresh water problem is most acute. Coastal towns, tourist resorts and islands are characterized with high population factors and huge influxes of summer tourists and visitors causing a dramatic increase in the demand for potable water. Southern parts of the country, on the contrary, have a lower population density. However, available groundwater resources in the south are mostly brackish.
              The geothermal brackish groundwater of the chott El-Fejij (70 km from the city of Gabes) (2.8 g/l,70 C) is actually dropped down to 30 C by coolers. This brackish water is used to feed the reverse osmosis desalination plant in the city of Gabes at a flow of 2000 m3/h. The cooling operation of groundwater rejects in the atmosphere an important quantity of thermal energy, estimated to be 8x107 kcal/h.

Submitted by: Abir Jomaa & Ibtihel Fkih Romdhane

The distributed water undergoes a double bacteriological control by the relevant services of SONEDE and the Public Health Ministry. The results of tests are in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The quality of the water distributed in the South - East of Tunisia has been improved thanks to the achievement of the brackish water desalination plants of Gab╦s, Zarzis and Djerba

Submitted by Olfa Haj Ayeche

4- Are people aware of the importance of saving water?

             Thanks to campaigns and the efforts of national and local authorities, most people are aware of the water problem in the country. However, many do not care about it. They are either indifferent or they do not implement what they learn in their daily practises. In fact, most people care about the water bill more than the water waste. If they regulate their consumption, it's not for the sake of saving water but rather to pay less. Luckily they result in the same practice.

Submitted by Rahma Bouzwache

5- What efforts are done by authorities to reduce water consumption?
             The Water and Sanitation for Health Project (WASH), and the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture on a plan to deliver potable water to rural areas. To encourage ownership and self-management of pump equipment and water distribution networks, as well as greater awareness of water conservation and hygiene, we designed and developed a comprehensive communications program including advertising and broadcast and printed media. The project was cited in an article in Jeune Afrique as playing an integral role in extending the life of Tunisia's water reserves.  

Submitted by : Ibtihel Fkih Romdhane

            The water conservation strategy that SONEDE is implementing is based on a set of measures related to technical, organisational and financial aspects.
            The technical aspect is very important in this strategy. The actions which are carried out in this framework basically deal with the control of network technical management, the detection and repairing of pipe leaks and the generalisation of the use of corrosion-resistant equipment.
           At the organisational level, regional structures have been set up to ensure the follow up of actions. Night and day duty teams are mobilised to intervene to repair ruptures and leaks of pipes.
           The financial aspect is concretised by controlling drinking water demand through an adequate tariff system.
           Consciousness raising campaigns for water conservation are carried out through mass-media an direct contact.
          Training courses are periodically organised for the personnel in charge of water equipment maintenance.

Submitted by: Soumaya Mahjoub

6- Are there any pilot experiments to preserve or use already consumed water?
            In Tunisia, an experimental desalination station for brackish and seawater desalination using renewable energies (mainly solar and wind) was built in 1981 within the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRST) at its site of Borj-Cedria on the southern suburbs of Tunis City. This experimental desalination station includes: ůů a reverse osmosis pilot plant for seawater desalination with a capacity of 0.25 m3 /h.
             Wind energy has been exploited for water pumping for a long time in many parts of the country using traditional windmills.  

Submitted by: Marwa Mlouka

            A pilot experiment has been started in a primary school in a town called Gafsa by the environment club. It consists in re-using the water already consumed by students for washing hands and drinking to water the school garden by buiding canals from the robinets to the plants and lawn at school. We've heard of the experiment on TV but we haven't had the chance of visiting the school.

Submitted by Rahma Baanannou

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