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Years of drought had dried up the ancient water supply networks existing around the Mediterranean Rim. However, with rainfall returning over the past 5 years, the hydraulic heritage has come to life again. The names of the tunnels that carry the revived streams -khettaras in Morocco, foggaras in Algeria or qanâts in Iran- evoke the trickling sounds of water. These underground infiltration galleries are the most characteristic and original illustration of local communities’ recovery of ancestral schemes. As IRD researchers and their partners( 1) show, these water mines in the middle of the desert, most of which had been abandoned, have now been restored by oasis inhabitants. These communities are now reinvesting in the maintenance of khettaras and in agriculture, especially young people returning to rural environments after experiencing unemployment in towns and cities. This is a risk owing to the uncertainties of climate, but fully assumed to revive collective action and to reappropriate the rules governing water-supply access, indeed in anticipation of possible new shortages in the years to come.
Irrigated agriculture makes a substantial contribution to the food security of many countries. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) figures indicate that irrigation involves just under 20% of cultivated land and supplies 40% of world agricultural production. An estimated ...
Tunisia’s arid regions: how can desertification control and socio-economic development be reconciled?
How can socio-economic development and environmental conservation be reconciled in the difficult context of a region threatened by desertification? That is the objective of the research project IRD researchers and their local partners initiated in Jeffara, in South-East Tunisia. The team of ...