Tunisia is receiving €285 million in financing from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the European Union (EU) to accelerate water and sanitation projects. The financing, consisting of loans and grants, is part of a €315 million package granted by the two institutions to the North African country.
Of the €285 million in financing for the water and sanitation sector, €265 million will go to the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Resources and Fisheries. The funds provided by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German development agency, and the European Union (EU) will support the implementation of five projects aimed at preserving water resources in the face of drought and flooding.
The Storage, Transfer and Flood Protection System (STPCI) improvement programme is funded with €204.55 million, consisting of a €164.7 million loan from KfW and a €39.85 million grant from the EU. The funds will support the development of water storage facilities with a combined capacity of 140 million m3 and a new 100 km water transfer pipeline. The programme will also protect 150 km of the Medjerda valley from flooding. According to the EU, these measures will directly and indirectly improve the living conditions of around 7.7 million people by 2027, when the STPCI programme ends.
The Agricultural and Rural Development around Hill Lakes (DARAL) project has been allocated €37.94 million, including a €14.94 million grant from the EU. This funding will be used to implement the second phase of this project, which aims to improve water availability in response to water stress, as well as the integrated management of natural resources in the governorates of Kasserine, Jendouba and Siliana. Also to improve the climatic resilience of farmers, the Laaroussia Canal, which has been supplying the public irrigated perimeters (PPI) of the Lower Medjerda Valley for 60 years, will be upgraded. KfW and the EU have mobilised €10 million for this project, which will allow the irrigation of 27,000 hectares of crops.
Strengthening the supply of drinking water
Part of the funding granted to the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Resources and Fisheries, i.e. €12.40 million, will be used for the implementation of two drinking water supply projects. With this EU grant, €11.95 million is allocated to the network performance improvement programme of the Société Nationale d’Exploitation et de Distribution des Eaux (SONEDE) in order to reduce losses in its drinking water networks in the seven districts of central and southern Tunisia, notably Kairouan, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa, Gabes, Medenine, Tataouine. At least €500,000 will be devoted to the technical study of the project.
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A grant of €400,000 will support the implementation of the project to improve the supply of drinking water in rural areas in the governorate of Béja, located in the north-west of Tunisia, some 50 km from the capital Tunis.
Reuse of treated wastewater
To preserve water resources in Tunisia, the government is also banking on the reuse of non-conventional water, particularly wastewater. Thus, a loan of 20 million euros has been granted to the National Sanitation Office (ONAS) by KfW. The public body will use this funding to pursue two ongoing initiatives, notably the €15 million Sanitation Programme for 10 medium-sized cities II. 15 million. This programme involves the rehabilitation and extension of existing sanitation networks, as well as the construction of wastewater treatment plants in several cities, some of which are among the most disadvantaged in Tunisia.
At least 5 million euros will be dedicated to the programme for the rehabilitation and extension of wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations. Overall, the challenge is to make use of treated wastewater in the agricultural sector and for watering green spaces. This approach will also make it possible to reduce the pressure on underground water reserves, which are overexploited due to water stress.