Tunisia: Cost of drinking water up 16% amid drought 


The cost of drinking water has risen up to 16% in Tunisia, in repose to the ongoing 5-year drought that has plagued the country, reports Reuters.

On the 1st of March, the country’s official gazette outlined the increase which will have the biggest impact on tourist facilities and those who use the most water.

The decision to raise prices came as Tunisia experienced its first significant rainfall in some time. Though the rainfall is a slight improvement from last year, government officials said that Tunisian dams have only reached 35% of their stock capacity. 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries said that the country needs to stay vigilant, especially as drought years become more frequent.

READ: Tunisia’s harsh climate puts lagoons in danger 

The price of water will be mostly unchanged for small consumers, however, those whose consumption exceeds 40 cubic meters face a 12% increase to 1.040 Tunisian dinars ($0.33) per cubic meter. While consumers between 70-100 cubic meters per quarter will pay 13.7% more at 1.490 dinars per cubic meter with immediate effect.

The largest impact will be on those whose consumption exceeds 150 cubic meters and on tourist facilities, for which the price per cubic meter has increased by 16% to 2.310 dinars. 

The country has other efforts in place, along with price increases to combat the shortage of water. 

In March 2023, Tunisia imposed a quota system for drinking water, hoping it would cut excessive water consumption. It included a ban on its use in agriculture and cutting off water supplies at night. Some experts have called on the authorities to restrict the irrigation of farming products intended for exports.

Farmers previously made up around three-quarters of the country’s water consumption but last year saw a decline in agricultural output as grain production fell by 60% according to Euro news

READ: Tunisia helpless farmers highlight the impact of droughts 

There is also a ban on using drinking water to wash cars, clean streets or public places and water green areas. Anyone who breaks these restrictions faces penalties that range from fines to imprisonment for up to six months.

Tunisia has also launched water desalination plants to try to make up for the country’s lack of dams and the impact of climate change. Currently, around 16 plants provide 6 per cent of its freshwater supplies. By 2030, the country is pushing for 30 per cent of its water needs to be met by desolation.  

Though these efforts have helped to some capacity, the country’s main issue is with ensuring the repair and maintenance of drinking water pipes due to insufficient budgets and poor governance. Leaky distribution pipes account for about 40% water water resources. 



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