11th session of the Permanent Technical Committee of the SASS Consultation Mechanism, Tunis 10-11 May, 2018


The 11th session of the Permanent Technical Committee of the Consultation Mechanism (MC) of the Northern Sahara Aquifer System (SASS) was held in Tunis from 10 to 11 May 2018.

The objective of this annual meeting was to examine the state of the water resource in the Aquifer System of the Northern Sahara, shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. This large non-renewable water reservoir is under intense exploitation in the three countries and is experiencing significant drawdowns in groundwater levels, mainly due to increased domestic and above all agricultural water requirements. The Permanent Technical Committee, made up of representatives of the water institutions in the 3 countries (ANRH - Algeria, GWA - Libya and DGRE - Tunisia) oversees the Consultation Mechanism set up by the 3 countries and whose objectives are to: both the strengthening of cooperation and coordination between the countries concerned, but also the production of decision support elements aimed at enabling sustainable and shared management of shared water resources of the NWSAS.

Its main missions are:

  • Production of SASS water resources indicators;
  • The development of water resource management scenarios;
  • Strengthening and updating common databases by exchanging data and information
  • The development and management of the common observation networks of the aquifer system.

This meeting provided an update on available data from the three countries on sampling, piezometry, quality and observation network, and agreed on the operations to be undertaken to improve the quality of the data. information on SASS waters.

The opening ceremony was chaired by Mr Mohamed AYADI, Director of Groundwater on behalf of Mr Hassen Lotfi FRIGUI, Director General of the General Directorate of Water Resources of Tunisia, in the presence of Mr Mehdi MEJRBI, Director General of GWA-Libya , Mr Abderrazak ZAHROUNA, Regional Director ANRH - Ouargla-Algeria, Mr Khatim KERRAZ, Executive Secretary of OSS and Mr Rachid TAIBI, Coordinator of the Consultation Mechanism of SASS (MCSASS).

At the end of the workshop, it was recommended to strengthen collaboration between the 3 SASS countries, to invest more in updating the database, to monitor surveillance networks and to continue SASS water sampling simulation activities. An appeal was also made to strengthen the Consultation Mechanism by inviting the representatives of the 3 countries to join forces for renewed cohesion around the Coordination Unit of the Mechanism.
Among the opportunities available to the Consultation Mechanism is the possibility of extending its scope to other sectors, citing the example of the NEXUS project, and its possible evolution at the institutional level as part of a Study in progress.It should also be noted that a project on the sustainability of the exploitation of water resources in the SASS is being matured.