Water and Climate Change in the Mediterranean Basin

In a context of global warming, the study of the status of water resources is a major issue for people, biodiversity and evolution of continental and aquatic ecosystems. In addition to a well marked rainfall variability, groundwater in the Maghreb Region is increasingly affected by water table depth decline. This together with a significant deterioration in water quality (due to anthropogenic pollution and aquifer salinization) is raising severe concerns at regional level, and urges prompt actions.

All these issues were addressed during the 3rd International Symposium on  “Water and Climate in the Maghreb”, held in Hammamet (Tunisia) from 21st to 23rd October 2014. The congress brought together several experts from the Mediterranean Region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Italy, France and Spain) who discussed about sustainable water resources management in North Africa and the Near East.

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Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony

Among the others, the main topic discussed during the symposium were the challenges of sustainable (surface and ground) water management and the impacts of climate change in the Mediterranean Basin.
The discussion was centred on the available diagnostic tools to investigate past trends, climatic variations and future scenarios, as well as the management and political actions needed to tackle water scarcity and pollution under climate uncertainty.

During the congress we also had the opportunity to present Bir Al-Nas as a new tool for supporting public participation and decision making in rural areas.
In particular Ms. Chiara Tringali presented some results of the socio-economic assessment in the  Grombalia Basin, as the object of her MSc. dissertation.

Chiara Tringali (C. Tringali, Re V., Siciliano G., Trabelsi R., Chkir N., Zouari K., Daniele S.: Bottom-up integrated approach for sustainable groundwater management in the Grombalia region - Tunisia).

Chiara Tringali (C. Tringali, Re V., Siciliano G., Trabelsi R., Chkir N., Zouari K., Daniele S.: Bottom-up integrated approach for sustainable groundwater management in the Grombalia region – Tunisia).

Dealing with climate changes impact assessment, especially in water scarce regions, it is a great challenges but during the congress it emerged that scientists are more and more conscious of the need to preform multidisciplinary approaches to support water management strategies in Maghreb. Another interesting outcome is the increasing awareness of the importance of public participation to help solving water issues.

(Photo Re, 2014)

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