Drinking water for the Tunisian countryside

From 2012 to 2016, thousands of homes are being connected to the drinking-water network, especially in arid and poor areas.

The Rural Drinking Water Supply Programm

  • 80% of Tunisian territory
  • 350,000 beneficiaries
  • AfDB loan: US $133 million (approved on 2011)

This project is a partnership between AfDB and the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment. It will be implemented through the General Directorate of Rural Engineering and Water Exploitation (DGGREE) and the Regional Agricultural Development Commissions (CRDA).



Vulnerable rural populations

With the Mediterranean to the north and the desert to the south, Tunisia undergoes recurrent periods of drought. Whereas all urban populations benefit from continuous access to water, this is not the case in the country, where close to 10% of Tunisians live unconnected to the water-supply network.

Far from the cities, water is an even more vital resource since the majority of the population live from agriculture and livestock farming. For them, a lengthy drought sometimes means a collapse in harvests and loss of part of their flocks or herds. Providing these populations with access to a constant, quality water supply raises both human and economic issues.

Equal public service everywhere

Refurbishing existing networks, extending them and building infrastructure to supply them: these are the objectives of the Rural Water Supply Programme, planned for 2012-2016. The programme covers 20 of the 24 governorates in the country.

Providing all citizens with equal access to the public service of water is expected to contribute to reducing regional disparities, a question that has become a central issue after the popular uprisings of the "Arab Spring" in 2011. In total, nearly 350,000 citizens will be connected to the national water system.

A revolution in the home

Having drinking water out of the tap amounts to a genuine revolution in the daily lives of thousands of homes, doing away with one of the hardest chores – going to the well. Access to water frees up time for work or learning. It also improves sanitary conditions.

For stockbreeders and farmers, the new facilities mean they can meet their priority needs in times of drought, thus reducing the risks weighing on their harvests and flocks or herds. This gives them more confidence about the future and the confidence to invest. 

"Water has made housework easier, but, most of all, the children are cleaner now." – Mrs El Hazgmi, Zaghouan Governorate

"All my brothers are abroad, but I think that I can live better in my region and invest here." – Kamel Allagui, Kasserine Governorate

"When I'm connected to the water system, I'm going to be able to implement my dairy cow project." – Issam Benkarim, Ben Arous Governorate