Sedimentation is an increasing problem for many water reservoirs, especially at the Southern coast of the Mediterranean. Well-designed water dams offer a good tool for proper water management and also provide measures for adaptation to climate change. The EU funded Water and Environment support project (WES) will support Tunisia in dealing with the particular problem of sedimentation in its dams. The Siliana Dam and the Lebna Dam, with useful storage 70 and 30 million cubic metres respectively, will serve as pilot cases to address this regional problem.

During the kick off meeting of the fourth WES activity for Tunisia, Professor Michael Scoullos, WES Team leader, explained that “a better understanding of the causes of sedimentation of the reservoirs is needed to examine what measures applied elsewhere can also be applied in Tunisia. Due to sedimentation, there is a significant loss of capacity in the dams, which at the end is an economic loss to the country. With this activity we will come up with measures that can address this problem.

Denis Reiss, of the EU Delegation in Tunisia, expressed his enthusiasm about the interest of the WES project to address sustainability as well as issues of scarce water resources and water management in the country. According to Reiss, “the EU 2020 – 2027 projection for Tunisia is expected to be launched soon in which water is of a high interest domain for the EU.”

Mr Habaieb, Director General of the Planning and Water Balances Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries, emphasized that water resources in Tunisia are more than limited. The loss of several millions liters of water per year from the dams due to sedimentation is a crucial issue for us to address and we are happy to receive the support of this project to offer some solutions.”

Demetris Zarris, WES Expert of LDK Consultants, who is leading this activity, described the objectives and the means to fulfil them as well as the five tasks of the Activity and concluded the meeting by stating that the project will first review current knowledge relative to catchments’ sediment yield and reservoir sedimentation in the Lebna and Siliana dams, after which mitigation measures will be designed together with cost benefit analysis of those measures.