Agricultural Use of Water Dams

Integrated use of six water reserves in the north-western Tunisian provinces of Zaghouan, Kasserine, Jendouba and Beja

  • Sectors: Preservation of natural resources, Land use planning
  • Duration: 05/1994 – 03/1996
  • Volume: 0.3 Mill. Euro
  • Persons/ Months: 7
  • Client: Austrian Development Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Vienna
  • Partner: AVA Consultations Agricoles Ltd, Tunis

Since the beginning of the 1990s, 500 water dams have been built using EU funds. The main objectives are the reconstitution of the groundwater and the prevention of degradation of large dams. As the dams- agricultural potential could not be used optimally the local population, the Tunisian government asked for the financing of projects aimed at integrated exploitation of these water reserves, combined with a maintenance programme to ensure the sustainability of water and soil preservation activities.

Consequently, six projects were started in the north-western provinces of Zaghouan, Kasserine, Jendouba and Beja. The projects- aims are to promote conservation actions, to ensure an effective management of natural resources (construction of banquettes and basins, and plantations of fruit trees with low water consumption) and to strengthen the related local institutions and associations.

Granting of micro-credits to the population encourages job-creation and the diversification of agricultural activities, and also ensures the sustainability of the development efforts. Funding benefits small livestock raising (bee-keeping, poultry, genetic improvement of goats and sheep), dairy cattle, fruit tree plantation (olives and almonds), and appropriate dripping irrigation systems for fruit trees and vegetable growing. In addition, training is offered in soil protection measures and appropriate cultivation techniques.

Together with local staff, Austroprojekt accomplished feasibility and evaluation studies, contributed to participatory planning workshops, contracted experts and extension workers, and ensured a regular follow-up.

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