Development of a methodology for Integrated Water Resources Management in Mediterranean phosphate mine areas

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Kathy, Bru; Nina, Graveline; Konstantinos, Soulis; Dercas, Nicholas; Stefopoulou, Angeliki; Anis, Guesmi; Fatma, Karaouli; Mohamed, Slimani; Anne- Gwenaƫlle, Guezennec
integrated water resources management; methodology; mediterranean phosphate mines
artifact description
Mediterranean phosphate mine areas are located in semi-arid regions characterized by water scarcity and pronounced climatic variability. The increasing water demand, due to the development of the mining, agricultural and other socio-economic sectors, threatens groundwater resources. This situation represents a limiting factor to the sustainable development of these regions and it may result in conflicts between the water users. This raises the demand for an integrated water resources management (IWRM). This paper presents the methodology developed and applied in the European research project Elmaa to develop a tool for integrated water management in Mediterranean phosphate mine areas. This methodology consisted in carrying out water balances between resources and demands for the current year and for the next 20 years; identifying, defining and modelling solutions for reducing water deficit (water management options); and integrating all this information inside a unique tool, a Decision Support System (DSS). All these steps involved collecting specific data, which was performed through literature reviews, on-site measurements, surveys, socio-economic and technical studies and stakeholders meetings. The implementation of the methodology to the Gafsa mines influence area (Tunisia) showed that the DSS is a powerful tool for exploring the impacts of various water management strategies and the obtained results may substantially support decision makers in improving water management.