Minister of water resources: census of unauthorised wells for possible regularisation

The Minister of Water Resources and Water Security, Karim Hasni, said Thursday in Algiers that his sector will proceed, in coordination with the sectors concerned and the province services, to the census of wells exploited by farmers without authorization throughout the national territory for a possible regularization.

In response to a question from a deputy on the regularisation of the situation of farmers who operate wells without authorisation, during a plenary session devoted to questions to the National People’s Assembly (APN), Hasni said that “there is no legal basis for such a regularisation, but given the insistent demands of farmers, a census of these wells operated without authorisation will be carried out to examine each case with the province services with a view to finding solutions.

Regarding farmers wishing to obtain authorisations to drill wells and exploit groundwater, the minister highlighted the efforts of the public authorities to ease the procedures for obtaining these authorisations, recalling the cross ministerial instruction (Water Resources, Interior and Agriculture) of 2020 following the scarcity of water resources in Algeria as in other countries. The head of the sector also referred to their joint publication defining the technical procedures for drilling wells.

In response to a question on the possibility for farmers who have inherited their land from father to son with unofficial, unregistered contracts, to obtain authorisations to drill wells for the exploitation of groundwater on their lands, the minister said that ‘these lands are covered by an executive decree according to which they must present a document from the municipality’s services or from the authorised agricultural services attesting to their effective exploitation of these lands in order to be able to obtain an authorisation for the exploitation of these wells’.

The Minister also expressed the Government’s commitment to support the farmer in the exploitation of water from dams and reservoirs, as well as granting authorisations for the exploitation of groundwater, stressing the essential role played by the farmer in the development of the national economy and the achievement of food security.

Regarding the supply of zones suffering from water stress from zones enjoying an abundance of water resources, the Minister indicated that a study was being prepared by his department to carry out important water transfers, including the exploitation of underground water in Ghardaïa in order to direct it to Djelfa and M’sila.

In the same context, he indicated a study, within the framework of future development programmes, on the possibility of including certain municipalities located on the border of Ghardaïa to supply them with water.

It should be noted that drinking water supply operations, which were the prerogative of local services, are now the responsibility of the Algérienne des Eaux (ADE) in most communes.

This would improve public service and reduce the disruption of water distribution experienced in these areas due to management difficulties caused by the lack of resources and maintenance of storage and distribution facilities, the Minister concluded.

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