Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture in Tunisia

Countries: Tunisia
Level: National
Region: MENA Region
Tags: Adaptation measure | Agriculture | Capacity building & knowledge transfer
Target audience: Farmers | NGOs and CSOs | Students/university | Water companies

In order to reduce and rationalise water consumption in agricultural irrigation in Tunisia, the role of new options for the better management of irrigation water was analysed. The analysis took into account potential technological innovations for sustainable development. The aim of the research was to contribute to the development of an analytical tool to further improve the analysis paradigm. 

The rehabilitation and modernisation of irrigation systems is an important tool to reduce water scarcity, since drip irrigation makes it possible to limit losses through evaporation and percolation, and helps to reduce weed growth. The choice of irrigation system depends on various factors. A drip system is more efficient, although spray irrigation may be recommended under certain conditions.

Drip irrigation offers several advantages in terms of water saving, with the aim of protecting groundwater resources.

Results obtained

  • Training programmes provided farmers with knowledge of local planning essential for the application of the most efficient water management techniques, helping them to optimise levels of agricultural productivity and ensure more sustainable farming methods. 
  • The project helped to bring about a transformation in the attitudes of all those involved in the management of water (planners, executive officers and end users) from all aspects, including technical, legal, institutional, economic, social, cultural and ecological. 

Success factors

  • Nearly 86 percent of farmers (43 individuals) work in areas suitable for irrigation.
  •  The majority of farmers (72% percent) use drip irrigation.
  • 70 percent of farmers take into consideration the plants’ water needs during irrigation.
  • For 28 percent of the farmers (14 out of 50), the amount of water required is determined on the basis of optimising crop yield and quality.
  • The agricultural sector, a major water consumer, is one of the main drivers of development. 

Indicators used

  • Decrease in water mismanagement
  • Actions undertaken by all stakeholders (small farmers, NGOs, water associations, researchers, universities and governmental authorities)

The research can be generalised to cover other irrigation areas in the country using strategic sampling.


Mr. Elwardi Dhaoui
Tel: (216)53701029