Coordination among the water, energy, food and environment sectors is fraught with difficulties, and the complexity increases substantially in transboundary
contexts. The nexus approach to managing interlinked resources aims to enhance water, energy and food security by increasing efficiency, reducing trade-offs, building synergies and improving governance while protecting ecosystems. Such an approach helps reconcile different sectoral objectives and supports progress towards the closely interlinked Sustainable Development Goals at the national and regional levels.
This report highlights the main results of a participatory assessment of the water-food-energy-ecosystems nexus in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS). Shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, the aquifer is the biggest transboundary groundwater reserve of North Africa, extending over one million square kilometres. Its water resources are largely non-renewable, with limited replenishment. In addition, socioeconomic development in the basin over the last decades and technological progress in well-drilling have led to steadily growing water abstraction. Currently the combined abstraction from the aquifer by the three countries exceeds three times the natural rate of recharge. As a consequence, the countries are facing important challenges – depletion and the loss of groundwater pressure; salinization; degradation of soil and reduced agricultural productivity; increased energy demand to pump water; and demineralization.
The benefits of a nexus approach to managing the NWSAS are multiple, and applying it has considerable potential to support further development of transboundary cooperation.
This Nexus Assessment of the NWSAS was carried out under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), applying an assessment methodology developed in its framework, in close cooperation with the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean and the Sahara and Sahel Observatory as part of the project, “Making water cooperation happen in the Mediterranean (Med Water Matchmaker)”, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The assessment also built on synergies with the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) of the Global Water Partnership.
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- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
- GWP Mediterranean - GWP
- Sahara and Sahel Observatory
- Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency