Pilot overview

Improve irrigated lands affected by salinity and hydromorphy and restore the oasis farming systems of Jedida and Mansoura in the region of Kebili, Tunisia.

Pilot overview

Geographical location: governorate of Kebili, 5 km downtown on the way to Souk El Ahad.

Local irrigation problem: degradation of soil quality due to the use of brackish water in irrigation for an oasis situated on the “chott” borders, which makes natural drainage more difficult. Soil salinity and hydromorphy led to a decline in the agricultural productivity of the Jedida and Mansoura Oases which are no longer capable of fulfilling the needs of its users.

Theme: restoration of soil quality using artificial drainage (buried drainage systems) and intensification of the oasis production systems.

Agricultural Production System: a family farming system destined mainly to food crop production and auto-consumption. Breeding does no longer represent a part of this kind of farming system, a system that is gradually vanishing.

Agricultural system: a classical oasis based first on date palms and partly annual fruit trees (food crops and forage crops).

Used water resources: a well of 900m depth that gets water from the Intercalary Continental water resources and issues geothermal water of a temperature more than 55°C. Prior to its use in irrigation, the temperature of this geothermal water is reduced.

Availability of irrigation water: the water source for irrigation is available but framers are not content with the management process (irregular water distribution). Eventually, the Jedida oasis suffers a severe water deficiency to wash down salt.

Water quality: brackish water having a salinity of 3g/l. This water could be used in irrigating date palms on condition that salt contained in irrigation water is washed down before irrigation. Water quotas provided for farmers do not cover the needs of salt washing. Moreover, natural drainage is not efficient.

Water management: a local Agricultural development team is in charge of this resource management (Groupement de Développement Agricole GDA) with assistance from the CRDA of Kebili.

Threats: the intensification of land hydromorphy and salinization.

Evolution of agricultural system: there is a gradual abandoning of the oasis agricultural system.