Water saving charter launched | Tunisia News Gazette

Water saving charter launched

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries launched, on Monday, the “charter of water saving and rationalising its consumption”, which aims to anchor awareness and change practices and behaviour in management of water resources.

The charter is based on a voluntary partnership between the members of the initiative (media, community associations, professionals, students and civil society …) in order to consolidate national efforts to preserve water, raising awareness of the water resources situation and the need to rationalise management.

The document was signed at a ceremony held at the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Tunis by the Ministers of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, Local Affairs and Environment, Equipment, Housing and Spatial Planning, the Secretaries of State in charge of water resources and fisheries and agricultural production in addition to the presidents of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (UTAP), the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises (CONECT), the National Union of Farmers, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the National Institute of Consumption (INC) as well as all associations active in the field of water.

The Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, Samir Taieb, said that the “share of each individual of drinking water in Tunisia is 467m3, a volume below the estimated shortage threshold per inhabitant to 500 M3 per year “.

Taieb said, at the start of the programme of the national campaign of rationalisation of water consumption, that the department is working to carry out 43 major projects in this sector at a cost of 3.8 billion dinars, adding that as part of the current government’s emergency programme, 40 mobile seawater desalination stations will be completed in 2017 and 2018.

He also pointed out that the new Investment Law has devoted several financial incentives to investors in the water sector, including incentives and bonuses for groundwater drilling operations, Installation of equipment to save irrigation water.

The Minister of Agriculture said that investment in the irrigation water sector was added to the list of material investments to control new technologies and improve productivity, which requires the Electricity production from renewable energies, knowing that the sector is the main consumer of water by 80%.

In this context, Taieb presented the short- and medium-term ministry’s programme aimed at developing a strategy to improve the efficiency of irrigation schemes, which should be between 70 and 80% by 2020 (compared with 50% at present) with investments estimated at 280 MD to redevelop and modernise 60 thousand hectares of old irrigated perimeters.

A programme to improve the average performance of the National Water Distribution Utility (SONEDE) network to 80% in 2021, with investments of around 249 MD, was elaborated, he said.

The programme involves replacing 3,000 kilometres and detecting water leaks over 5,000 kilometers of networks, in addition to the change of 315 thousand meters.

The Minister underlined that awareness campaigns will be launched under this programme for 150,000 farmers in the first year of the Charter. The technical guidance and training of these farmers will be ensured in the fields related to water saving.

Partnership contracts were also concluded between the Ministry of Agriculture and media and an agreement with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on the consolidation of the platform cooperation on water scarcity.

Source: TAP News Agency

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