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Water ban in drought-stricken Tunisia adds to growing crisis

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Tunisia has introduced water rationing as the country suffers its fourth year of severe drought.

The state water distribution company, Sonede, has already begun cutting mains water supplies every night between 9pm and 4am. The agriculture ministry has now banned the use of water for irrigation, watering green spaces and other public areas, and for washing cars.

“I’ve been experiencing water cuts overnight for the last two or three weeks,” said Haythem Hazel, an English teacher in the capital, Tunis. “It’s alarming. It shows we really have a water crisis in Tunisia. It’s difficult to stay without water for even two hours.”.

Reservoirs across the country are said to be about 30% short of capacity. Levels at the Sidi Salem reservoir, which serves the north of the country, including Tunis, are only about 16% full.

Tunisia has always relied heavily on capturing surface water for its supplies, leaving it especially vulnerable to shortages of rainfall driven by the climate crisis. In the past four years, the Mediterranean region has had blistering summers, mild winters and…

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