US $107m approved for drinking water projects in Tunisia

US $107m approved for drinking water projects in Tunisia

US $107m loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has been approved by Tunisia’s House of People’s Representatives (ARP) for drinking water projects in the country.

The financing represents the fourth tranche of an overall amount of US $500m pledged by the State of Kuwait during the international investment conference “Tunisia 2020”. The Tunisian state has 30 years to repay the loan, with a six-year margin and an interest rate of 2.5%.

The National Water Supply Company (Sonede) will use the funding to improve and develop the drinking water transfer networks in 35 urban areas, spread over 17 governorates, namely Ben Arous, Béjà, Jendouba, Siliana, le Kef, Nabeul, Bizerte, Zaghouan, Kasserine, Gabès, Médenine, Tataouine, Sfax, Gafsa, Tozeur, Kébili and Sidi Bouzid.

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Demographic growth

The public company will replace the pipes in the targeted towns and also carry out 15 boreholes. The water pumped from the water table will be stored in 42 tanks. A water purification plant in the coastal town of Tabarka, in north-west Tunisia, as well as a water deferrization plant in the town of Zarzis will be developed. The projects are set to take five years to be completed.

Tunisia’s need for drinking water is constantly increasing, by 3% each year, due to the very high demographic growth of the population. Between 2014 and 2021, Tunisia will have grown from 11.14 million to 12.02 million inhabitants.

With the Mediterranean to the north and the desert to the south, Tunisia undergoes recurrent periods of drought. Whereas all urban populations benefit from continuous access to water, this is not the case in the country, where close to 10% of Tunisians live unconnected to the water-supply network.