Groundwater resources represent the largest volume of all unfrozen fresh water on Earth. However the knowledge and understanding of this precious resource is very little, if compared to surface water, especially to the general public and policy makers. Indeed, groundwater resources if carefully managed can make a significant contribution to meet increasing water demand, agricultural needs and to adapt to global climate change, particularly in coastal regions. For this reason it is of paramount importance to promote groundwater protection and to raise awareness on its crucial role in sustaining human activities and wellbeing worldwide. Within these emerging needs, Bir Al-Nas (Bottom-up IntegRated Approach for sustainabLe grouNdwater mAnagement in rural areaS) project’s overall objective is to develop a replicable example of integrated approach for science-based groundwater management practices, by studying the aquifer system in the Cap Bon Peninsula (Tunisia). This region has been chosen as a case study being representative of increasing global water scarcity and aquifer overexploitation issues in coastal areas. The overall objective is meant to be achieved through an integrated hydrogeochemical and social analysis finalized to obtain robust and reliable information for providing advices and supporting integrated management practices for rural development.
In Arabic Bir Al-Nas means the “well of people” and emphasizes the effective inclusion of the social dimension into hydrogeological investigations.
Bir Al-Nas is an EU funded project under the Marie Curie Actions (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF, project reference 327287) that will be implemented between 2013 and 2016 in cooperation with the the National School of Engineering of Sfax, Tunisia (ENIS) and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy (UNIVE).