REGIONAL - The SASS III project (2007-2013):
"Operational recommendations for the sustainable management of the Northwestern Sahara Aquifer System" (Reducing Risks to the Sustainable Management of the North West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS))
Executing agency: The Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)
"SASS III" is the title of the third phase of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory's (OSS) project on the Northwestern Sahara Aquifer System (Système Aquifère du Sahara Septentrional- SASS), which kicked-off in 1999 with the aim of enhancing knowledge and management of the Saharan groundwater resources shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.
The objective of SASS III is to devise operational recommendations for the management of groundwater withdrawn for agricultural purposes, particularly in areas of the basin where the water table, the soil or the whole ecosystem is vulnerable.
- Component 1 : socio-economics
This component includes the elaboration of a socio-economic study that will shed light on the practices of farming-related water uses in the basin.
A field survey has been conducted in two installments with 3,000 farmers in the first campaign, and 1,500 farmers in the second campaign). All respondents were farms using the SASS groundwater resources for irrigation.
- Component 2 : demonstration pilots
Six fully operational demonstration pilots (DP) have been selected. They represent each a well defined problem related to groundwater use in irrigation. National institutions in charge of water management in the three riparian countries participated in the identification and selection of pilots.
DP 1 : the restoration and safeguard of the "foggaras" and associated agricultural production systems in a context of water shortage in Reggane (Adrar, Algeria)
DP 2 : enhancement of land and water management and their valorisation in Oued Righ (Algeria)
DP 3 : Restoration and protection of irrigated agriculture production systems in Bir Etterfess in the Libyan Djeffara plain
DP4 : Cost-effective use of desalinated geothermal water (by reverse osmosis) in hyper-intensive irrigation in Gabès, Tunisia
DP 5 : rehabilitation of irrigated lands affected by salinity and hydromorphia, and restoration of agrarian systems in the Oasis of Jedida and Mansoura in Kebili, Tunisia.
DP 6 : development of brackish water in irrigation in the region of Sidi Makhlouf, Medenine (Tunisian Djeffara)
- Component 3: Information system
The project aims to set up of a fully fledged information system working on a reliable database and using GIS.
- Component 4: Remote-sensing
Demonstration pilots 2,3 and 6 have been identified as test zones for the use of satellite imagery (courtesy of Africa-Geodev) in the assessment of groundwater withdrawals. As part of this component, OSS coordinates the AGRICAB project's activities being implemented in North Africa (2011 - 2015)