Fighting water scarcity: experts call for an appropriate strategy to be developed

Experts called Tuesday, here in Algiers, on the public authorities, to develop an appropriate strategy in order to face up to the water scarcity experienced by the country in recent years.

During a study day on the problem of water resource scarcity in Algeria, organized by the National Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the same experts stressed the need to develop a new strategy in order to face up to the scarcity of water resources, which has been exacerbated by climate change.

In this regard, Professor Ahmed Kettab, an international consultant, suggested organizing sessions on water with the participation of public bodies, experts and civil society in order to enrich the project of the Water Economy Charter launched by the Ministry of Water Resources and on the basis of this charter, proposing a “new five-year draft law with very specific goals and a significant budget.” .

It is expected that the proposed draft law includes strengthening the existing facilities (dams and desalination plants) in order to increase the collection and conservation of water resources.

The same expert also deemed that reviewing the price of water would be an “effective way” to improve and even raise the country’s reserves of this precious substance.

He continued, “The price scale must be reviewed while respecting international standards, taking into account the purchasing power of vulnerable groups and the middle class.”

Professor Kettab also suggested the adoption of a “solidarity water price” by allocating nine (9) cubic meters per quarter for each citizen and a “social price” of 21 cubic meters per quarter at a very reasonable price, and in the end a “luxury price” for consumers who use a water volume exceeding 50 cubic meters.

He stressed, in the same context, that “the industrial sector, as well as the agricultural sector, which are economic sectors, pay the real price of water,” noting the need to propose support and assistance for institutions that use economic water systems.

He also stressed that “this pricing aims to save this resource and ensure the financial balance of the water distribution enterprises.”

In the same context, Noura Friwa, Director of Studies at the Ministry of Water Resources, stressed the need to sensitize citizens, institutions and farmers about the importance of developing a policy to rationalize water consumption.

To this end, Ms. Friwa suggested establishing a communication plan in order to change consumer behaviors and practices.

She mentioned, on the occasion, the projects of the water economy charter proposed by its sector, which involves all relevant actors (Ministry, bodies and associations), with the aim of preserving this resource, combating all forms of pollution and developing the circular economy, especially through the reuse of purified water.

Algeria has experienced for several years, especially since 2020, a scarcity of water resources, which made the public authorities launch an emergency program to take care of the provinces most affected by water scarcity.

As for the financial package allocated for the period between 2020-2024, it was estimated at 390 billion dinars, including 218 billion dinars in the short term.

The latest statistics of the sector indicate that the production of potable water in Algeria is about 3.6 billion cubic meters annually, i.e. 50% of groundwater, 34% of surface water and 16% of desalinated water.

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