The North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (SASS) is a basin which extends over 1,000,000 km2 and is shared by three countries (Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya). The NWSAS water reserves are considerable yet generally of quasi fossil nature.
With the aim of enhancing sustainable development in the region, OSS in partnership with the three countries concerned, conducted, in a first phase, several studies that allowed a better hydraulic knowledge of the basin. However, given the growing water needs, notably relative to the agricultural sector, and the necessity to preserve a little renewable resource, OSS decided to undertake a study on water valorization in the basin.
The study was structured around two components:
- A socio-economic component focusing on analyzing the operation modes of agricultural systems and especially on understanding the irrigator’s behavior by conducting several surveys realized with almost 3,000 farmers. This analysis enabled to identify the main constraints to water productivity, to measure their economic impacts and to elaborate operational recommendations for a better valorization of the basin’s resources.In addition, a hydro-economic model was developed with the objective of providing decision makers with an efficient decision-support tool to help them develop and implement agricultural development policies.
- A second “demonstration pilots” component concerned the implementation of six demonstration NORTH-WESTERN SAHARA AQUIFER SYSTEMpilots by the farmers themselves dealing with different issues and problems faced by the three countries. The technical innovations introduced at the pilots level aimed at intensifying cropping systems, saving and valorizing water. The results obtained following two agricultural seasons helped confirm the existence of efficient technical solutions for the renovation and implementation of agricultural systems at the farm level.
The results obtained by the study allowed to conclude a number of recommendations for a sustainable development as well as for a better preservation of the basin’s resource.