Pilot overview

Restoration and protection of the irrigated farming systems in the Libyan Djeffera plain (Souani-Tripoli).

Pilot overview

Geographical Location: this pilot is carried out in the farm of Mr Mohamed Khanfes, the region of Souani (about 20 km south Tripoli).

Problem: a severe dewatering of the water table and a degradation of water quality (salinization) due to an overuse of the aquifer through the construction of illegal wells.

Theme: rationalizing the use of brackish water in intensive agriculture.

Agricultural production system: irrigated agriculture in this region is gradually disappearing. Nevertheless, a number of farmers still conduct winter and summer vegetable crops in old olive farms. The local agricultural production of the region is mainly destined for Tripoli market. But, the efficiency of irrigation water in this region is very weak and soil gets more saline over time.

Used Water Resources:  a private well that uses the Djeffera water table’s resources, which explains the decrease of its static level due to an increasing pressure on this resource.

Irrigation water availability: poor quality irrigation water (if available) with a high pumping cost.

Water Quality: the well water has a salinity of 1.6g/l of the total water- soluble sodium chloride salts.

Water Management method: the farmer runs his own well in an individual private manner. He also ensures the well’s maintenance and pays for electric energy (largely nationally subsidized).

Threats: the increasing pressure and overuse of this aquifer have highly affected the irrigated farming sector in the region. The aquifer’s dewatering led to an increase in the cost of water and to a degradation of its quality which resulted in its turn in soil salinization and a decline of the agricultural production.

System evolution: in case no intervention is introduced to put an end to the overuse of the Djeffera water table, irrigation would be abandoned in the medium term due to the lack of good irrigation water quality. Alternative solutions to this problem consist mainly of: rationalization of the use of brackish water in irrigation and water desalinization. Two important questions could be raised here: how to enhance agricultural production and increase the efficiency of irrigation water in order to ensure a more profitable framing system. 

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