The agricultural sector in the Maghreb is using natural resources so intensively that there is an urgent need to install government control mechanisms at both the national and local level. The rapid growth in the use of ground water for irrigation has resulted in a major increase in agricultural productivity, but the practice is unsustainable because of the over-use of aquifers and salinisation of the water and soil.
The authors of a report called Agricultural Use of Ground Water and Management Initiatives in the Maghreb examine groundwater use and management in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia based on a study of institutional and policy mechanisms in from nine local case studies. In reviewing the range of policies used to deal with unsustainable water use of, the report came up with important recommendations on resource management. Specifically, it concludes that the design and implementation of strategies for sustainable aquifer exploitation require the building of coalitions between interested parties, giving priority to farmers.