A farmer holds a handful of soil parched by drought in Tunisia's east-central area of Kairouan. The Maghreb nations of Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco are among the 30 most water-stressed countries in the world, the World Resources Institute says. As droughts last longer and become more intense, farmers will be the first to feel the pinch.
The receding reservoir of the Sidi Salem dam in the northern Tunisian area of Testour, in the Beja province. The Sidi Salem reservoir supplies water to almost three million Tunisians but years of drought across North Africa has left it critically low, an ominous sign for the region's future.
An employee at the Sidi Salem dam looks at the receding water level in the reservoir. The head of water planning at the Environment Ministry, Hamadi Habaieb, said an increasing population coupled with reduced rainfall would result in Tunisia having ‘far less’ water available per person by 2050.
Parched land in Kairouan. Hamadi Habaieb said that while the country has to adapt, ‘farming has a future in Tunisia, although we will need to move towards very specific crops ... that can deal with a lack of water and to climate change’.
The Medjerda River flowing through Sidi Salem dam. The drought problems facing Tunisia are felt across the region. 'The water table across North Africa is dropping due to a combination of over-pumping and lack of precipitation,; said Aaron Wolf, a professor of geography at Oregon State University.