Algeria will take measures against drought and reactivates the "emergency plan"

The shortage of rainfall forces Algiers to improve groundwater production capacity


Establishing desalination plants, producing groundwater wells and activating the water police's action plan are some of the measures that Algeria will implement to alleviate the consequences of the country's drought. The government of Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced its intention to "take urgent measures" in the face of the "growing shortage of rainfall due to climate change". To this end, "the urgent plan approved during the last two years 2021 and 2022" will be revived.
The aim is to ensure that all Algerian citizens can count on drinking water on a regular basis throughout the year. If desalination plants are not rehabilitated and expanded, and groundwater production capacity is not improved, the drought could directly affect certain sectors of the population. Another of the measures to be implemented is a reduction in the number of hours of water distribution, given the government's concern about the climatic conditions, which do not seem to have a positive trend for the future.

PHOTO/Russian Foreign Ministry via REUTERS - El presidente de Argelia, Abdelmadjid Tebboune

The director of the Algerian Climate Centre, Saleh Sahabi Abed, explained in declarations to the Al Sharq media that the decrease in rainfall in Algeria over the last decade is between 30 and 40%. He also warned that measures should be taken at a global level, not only in his country. Rather than looking for a solution to the consequences of the drought, he points to the cause of the drought and points to gas emissions, which are largely responsible for both the lack of rainfall and the rise in temperatures worldwide.
Tebboune announced the activation of the water police to fight one of Algeria's main problems, according to the Algerian Water Company, namely "water wastage". This "police" is specialised in monitoring water use zones in all fields and preventing water wastage. Especially since illegal connection to the water network leads to losses of 20-25%, a trend which, according to the authorities, is becoming increasingly common throughout the country and endangers the proper supply of the system.

AP/GREGORY BULL - The drought problem is proving to be a puzzle for governments looking to desalination plants as a short- and long-term solution.

Data from the Algerian Ministry of Water Resources set the annual limit for groundwater exploitation at around six billion cubic metres. However, the intention is to carry out urgent scientific studies in order to determine the exact state of the groundwater rate and recalculate these numbers. In the same vein, President Tebboune has ordered strict control of licences issued to exploit these waters, as well as the irrigation of cultivated areas, with heavy penalties for those who illegally drill wells.
One of the alternatives that offers the best results is the aforementioned desalination of Algerian coastal water. With more than 1,200 kilometres of coastline spread across the northern states of Algeria, the expansion of desalination plants is one of the pillars on which this anti-drought plan is to be based. Currently, desalinated water covers the needs of 17% of the Algerian population thanks to the eleven plants operating in the country, which have a production capacity of over 770 million cubic metres per year.