North West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS)

North West Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS)

The North West Sahara aquifer system (NWSAS) is the most important water resource in the desert and semi-desert area of North Western Sahara and covers an area of over 1 million km2 between Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia. This large, multilayered hydrogeological system has important water reserves (~30,000 km3) which are, however, mostly non-renewable and not fully exploitable (Abid et al., 2011). A recent survey of the basin (OSS, 2001) showed withdrawals of 2,2×109 m3/y with a worrying increasing trend. With increasing population and enhanced domestic, industrial, and especially farming needs, the pressure on groundwater is expected to increase. Spatial concentration of withdrawal points in small areas and new large well fields and adduction works by Libya and Algeria are taking their toll with aquifer pressure loss, salinization, soil degradation, natural oases disappearance, natural discharge depletion and water level drawdown already affecting the aquifer. 

To learn more contact:

Dr. Najiba Chkir Ben Jemâa, Assistant Professor, Geography Department, Faculty of Letters and Humanities of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia; e-mail: najiba_chkir@yahoo.fr

Example Publications: 

BelHadj Salem S., Chkir N., Cognard-Plancq A.L., Zouari K., Vallès V., Marc V., 2010, Hydrochemical and isotope evidence of groundwater contamination under cultivated fields of semi-arid environment in Tunisia, Accepted by Arid Land Research and Management, UASR-2010-0610.RI, (ISSN 1532-4982; e-journal ISSN 1532-4990)

BelHadj Salem S., Chkir N., Cognard-Plancq A.L., Zouari K., Vallès V., Marc V., 2010, Etude de la variabilité spatiotemporelle des précipitations en région semi-aride : application au bassin du Zéroud, Tunisie Centrale. Accepted by Hydrological Science Journal, HSJ-2010-0101, (ISSN 0262-6667; e-journal ISSN 2150-3435)

Zouari K.; Trabelsi R., Chkir N., 2010, Using geochemical indicators to investigate groundwater mixing and residence time in the aquifer system of Djeffara of Medenine (Southeastern Tunisia), Hydrogeology Journal n°HJ-2010-1529, (ISSN 1431-2174; e-journal ISSN  1435-0157)

Abid K.; Zouari K.; Chkir N.; Dulinski M.; Abidi B., 2010, Hydrologic and geologic factors controlling groundwater geochemistry in Turonian aquifer (Southern Tunisia), Hydrogeology Journal n°HJ-2009-1373, (ISSN 1431-2174; e-journal ISSN  1435-0157)

Hadj Ammar F., Chkir N., Zouari K., Azzouz-Berriche Z., 2010, Uranium isotopes in groundwater from the «Jeffara coastal aquifer» (southeastern Tunisia), Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 101 (2010), 681-691 (ISSN 0265-931X)

Chkir N., Guendouz A., Zouari K., Moulla A., 2009, Uranium isotopes in groundwater from the Continental Intercalaire aquifer in Algerian Tunisian Sahara (Northern Africa), Journal of Environmental radioactivity 100 (2009), 649-656, (ISSN 0265-931X).

Yermani M., Chkir N., Zouari K., Michelot J.L., Moumni L., 2009, Environmental tracers as indicators of water fluxes through the unsaturated zone in semiarid regions: the case of Gafsa plain (Southern Tunisia), Journal of Environmental Hydrology, Volume 17, Paper 31, ISSN 1058-3912

Bel Hadj Salem S., Zouari K., Chkir N., Kallali A., 2008, Isotopic and Geochemical Impact of water releases from the Sidi Saâd dam on groundwater recharge in the Zeroud basin (Central Tunisia). Proceeding of the Tenth Arab Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Republic of Iraq, 12-16 December 2010,

Chkir N., Trabelsi R., Bahir M., hadj ammar f., Zouari K., 2008, Vulnérabilité des ressources en eaux des aquifères côtiers en zones semi-arides – Etude comparative entre les bassins d’Essaouira (Maroc) et de la Jeffara (Tunisie), Communicações Geológica, t.95, 107-121, (ISSN 1647-581X)

Kamel S., Younes H., Chkir N., Zouari K., 2008, The hydrogeochemical characterization of ground waters in Tunisian Chott’s region, Environmental Geology, (2008) Vol. 54(4), 843-854(12), (ISSN 0943-0105; e-journal ISSN 1432-0495)

Zouari K., Mejrebi M., Chkir N., Trabelsi R., Ben Baccar B., Aggarwal P., 2008, Assessment of renewal rate in the shared Djeffara coastal aquifer by isotopic investigation». Third International Conference « Managing Shared Aquifer Resources in Africa »Tripoli (Libya) – 25-27 May 2008, pp 113-129

Chkir N., Zouari K., 2007, Uranium isotopic disequilibrium for groundwater classification – First results on Complexe terminal and Continental Intercalaire aquifers in southern Tunisia; Environmental Geology (2007) Vol. 53(3), 677–685, (ISSN 0943-0105; e-journal ISSN 1432-0495)

Bel Hadj Salem S., Chkir N., Zouari K., Béji R., 2007, Isotopic and Geochemical Impact of water releases from the Sidi Saâd Dam on groundwater in Kairouan plain (Central Tunisia). IAEA-CN -151/22. Symposium of International Symposium “Advances in Isotope Hydrology and its Role in sustainable Water Resources Management HIS-2007″. Vienna, Austria, 21-25 May 2007.

Ben Moussa O., Charfi  S., Chkir N., Zouari K., Oueslati M.N., 2007, Contribution of isotopic indicators to groundwater assessment and management in Grombalia plain (North eastern Tunisia). IAEA-CN-151/21. Proceeding of International Symposium “Advances in Isotope Hydrology and its Role in sustainable Water Resources Management HIS-2007″. Vienna, Austria, 21-25 May 2007, pp. 273-282

Trabelsi R., Charfi  S., Chkir N., Abidi B., Zouari K., 2007, Contribution of isotopic indicators to the assessment of groundwater mixture between Continental Intercalaire and Djeffara aquifers (South Eastern –Tunisia). IAEA-CN-151/20. Proceeding of International Symposium “Advances in Isotope Hydrology and its Role in sustainable Water Resources Management HIS-2007″. Vienna, Austria, 21-25 May 2007, pp 9-18.

Chkir N., Guendouz A., Zouari K., 2006, Variation of uranium isotopic disequilibria along groundwater flow path of Continental Intercalaire aquifer over Tunisian and Algerian basin Proceeding of the Eighth Arab Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Amman, Jordany, 3-7 December 2006

Genty D., Blamart D., Ghaleb B., Plagnes V., Causse C., Bakalowicz M., Zouari K., Chkir N., Hellstrom J., Wainer K., Bourges F. , 2006, Timing and dynamics of the last deglaciation from European and North African d13C stalagmite profiles-comparison with Chinese and South Hemisphere stalagmites, Quaternary Science Reviews 25, 2118–2142, (ISSN 0277-3791).

Zouari K., Kamel S., Chkir N., 2006, Long-term dynamic isotope and hydrochemical changes in the deep aquifer of « Complexe Terminal » Southern Tunisia – IAEA-TECDOC-1507 – Proceeding of the final Research Coordination Meeting on the IAEA CRP « Isotope response to the dynamic changes in groundwater systems due to long-term exploitation » held in Vienna, 12–16 May 2003. pp.137-156

Causse C., Ghaleb B., Chkir N., Zouari K., Ben Ouezdou H., 2003, Humidity changes in southern Tunisia during the Late Pleistocene inferred from U–Th dating of mollusc shells, Applied Geochemistry 18 (2003) 1691–1703, (ISSN: 0883-2927)

Chkir N. et Zouari K., 2002, Application of radiocarbon dating to holocene paleoclimatic variations over tunisian sites : relationship between climatic changes and humid phases (en arabe, résumé en anglais) – Proceeding of the Sixth Arab Conference on the Peaceful uses of atomic Energy – 14-18 December 2002 – Cairo –Egypt, pp.95-110

Zouari K., Chkir N., Ouda B., 2002, Paleoclimatic variations in Maknassy basin (Central Tunisia) during holocene period using pluridisciplinary approaches.     IAEA-CN-80/28. Proceeding of the International Conference “Study of Environmental Change Using Isotope Techniques”, Vienna, Austria 23 to 27 April 2001, pp 100-110.

Ouda B., Zouari K., Ben Ouezdou H., Chkir N., Causse C., 1998, Nouvelles données paléoenvironnementales pour le Quaternaire récent en Tunisie centrale (bassin de Maknassy)- New paleoenvironmental data for the Late Quaternary of Maknassy Basin (central Tunisia) , C. R. A. S. – Earth & Planetary Sciences, 1998.326.855-861, (ISSN: 1631-0713).

Zouari K., Chkir N., Causse C., 1998, Pleistocene Humid episodes in southern Tunisian chotts. IAEA-SM-349/41. Proceedings of the symposium “Isotope techniques in the study of environmental change” Vienna, Austria 14-18 April 1997. pp. 543-554