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Economic Brief - Agricultural Use of Groundwater and Management Initiatives in the Maghreb: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Aquifer Exploitation

09-Dec-2011

The intensive use of natural resources in the Maghreb, in particular by the agricultural sector, is creating an urgent need to design governance mechanisms at both the local and national level. Groundwater has become one of the most fragile of these resources. The rapid development of groundwater use for irrigation in the Maghreb has resulted in significant agricultural growth, but in many regions, such development has become unsustainable because of aquifer overexploitation or water and soil salinization.

Adequate instruments to address this unsustainable use are not easy to design and implement, for there are many informal groundwater withdrawals by farmers, and water resource management organizations have limited intervention capacity. The paper examines groundwater use and management in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia based on a study of national institutional and policy mechanisms and nine (9) local case studies.

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