CERTE CEO stresses need to build underground dams to retain rainwater

Tunis: Director General of the Water Research and Technologies Centre (French: CERTE) in Borj Cedria, Hakim Gabtni, on Wednesday, stressed the importance of building underground dams to retain rainwater, which is expected to decrease by between 14% and 25% by 2025 due to rising temperatures. Speaking at the opening of the Water Expo, Gabtni said the construction of these dams would help reduce the evaporation of rainwater stored in surface dams and mountain lakes due to rising temperatures. This would help combat water stress, he said, highlighting the need to think about scientific solutions that can meet the specific needs of each region. For example, 'it would be wise to build underground dams in the north to collect rainwater and desalination plants in coastal regions.' He also called for an end to the over-exploitation of groundwater (75% of which is used) and for groundwater to be given the time it needs to replenish itself, suggesting the possibility of using surface water to replenish highly saline aquifers. Hakim Gabtni also said that the Centre is currently working on the installation of wastewater treatment plants using plants, stressing that this is a low-energy technique. He also pointed out that the wastewater utilisation rate does not exceed 8%, while the treated volumes amount to 300 million m3, i.e. 1/3 of the input from dams. He added that the Centre had begun to implement this experiment in agricultural projects and estimated that the amount of treated water should reach 0.6 billion m3 by 2050. Gabtni stressed the importance of presenting these various solutions at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in order to mobilise the necessary funds to put them into practice and thus enable Tunisia to adapt to climate change. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse