Water harvesting and Agricultural techniques in Dry lands: an Integrated and Sustainable model in MAghreb Regions

The project organised its launching meeting in Algeria, one of the two beneficiary countries of WADIS-MAR activities, in October 2012. The event served to inform a wide range of stakeholders about the project and its planned activities towards the promotion of integrated water harvesting and artificial aquifer recharge techniques in the watersheds of Oued Biskra (Algeria) and Oum Zessar (Tunisia). The launching event in Algeria involved the participation of more than 70 guests, including not only representatives of the partner organisations but also of local and national institutions, agencies and universities  involved in integrated water management in the country. A three-day technical meeting was organised as a side event, and it involved all partners and national agencies that might play a synergic role within the project.

WADIS-MAR implemented successfully a set of additional activities.

  • Two important hydrogeological and isotopic sampling surveys were made in Algeria and Tunisia respectively in June 2012 and in November 2012, aiming at the hydrogeological reconstruction and modelling of the intervention areas of Wadi Biskra (Algeria) and Oum Zessar (Tunisia). These surveys involved researchers and experts of the Desertification Research Group NRD of the University of Sassari,Institutes des Région Arides (IRA), Agence Nationale des Ressources Hydrauliques (ANRH) and the University of Barcelona. The activity was characterized by the collection of water samples and execution of field-based measurements (i.e. piezometric levels, Electric Conductivity, Temperature, pH, Red-Ox, Dissolved Oxygen etc.) and has followed with laboratory chemical and isotopic analysis. The results allowed to better understand and model the hydrogeological setting of the intervention areas. The activity was also aiming at training partner’s technicians on how to execute a suitable hydrogeological survey and apply internationally recognized standards for specific laboratory analysis.
  • Agricultural missions were carried out to plan the agronomic strategies to be implemented within WADIS-MAR framework. A first assessment of needs has been made and contacts and synergies were established in both target sites. Together with local public agencies, WADIS-MAR has already identified possible agronomic solutions and technical innovations based on the partner’s know-how and scientific knowledge gained during the project implementation. In particular, taking into account local water scarcity, through the adoption of new irrigation strategies, by mitigating salinization issues and through promoting the active role of local public agencies, WADIS-MAR will extend experimental results to agriculturists and farmers and finally, as planned, will promote south-south cooperation and exchanges among the two sites.
  • First contacts and meetings were made in Tunisia and Algeria with local stakeholders and target groups (agriculturists, farmers, chamber of agriculture etc.) with the aim to prepare the plan for participatory actions of the project. The objective of this plan is to raise the awareness of people about local agricultural problems/issues and to contribute with their experience to final project’s decisions.
  • A preliminary design and cost analysis of the artificial aquifer recharge interventions was already made in both areas and the Partners of the project are actually validating the best technical solution to be applied.

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