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Nexus assessment of the North West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS)

As part of the ongoing collaboration between KTH and the United Nation Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE), the UNECE methodology is being implemented and for the first time on a ground water resources in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS). The aquifer system that has reserves of about 40,000 billion cubic meters is the main source of potable and irrigation water in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. This high dependence on the NWSAS water has resulted in heavy and unsustainable exploitation of the aquifer over decades, which aggravates other issues such as lowering water table; increasing pumping demand; water and soil salinization from irrigation and inadequate management of drainage.
The challenges of ensuring the sustainable use of the region’s water resources, common to the aquifer sharing countries, were the focus of the nexus assessment funded by UNECE and Global Water Partnership Mediterranean. With the effective participation and contribution form the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), the Coordination Mechanism of the NWSAS and country representatives form water, energy, agriculture and environment sectors.

Funded by:

United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE) and Global Water Partnership (GWP).

Time period:


Project partners:



Aim and objectives

This assessment is part of an ongoing process for enhancing transboundary cooperation for the management of the NWSAS and strengthening related capacities.


The nexus assessment informs the policy making process and the cooperation mechanism between the three countries sharing the aquifer in term of sustainable water management.


  • UNECE nexus assessment report for the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS) (forthcoming).
  • Scientific publication: A GIS based approach to estimate electricity needs for ground water pumping irrigation in the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS). (almulla et al, forthcoming).

Project contact persons

Energy expert for the nexus assessment

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