Water rationing in Tunisia has been implemented since early April due to severely dry conditions, with little warning to its citizens. From April to September, water supply will be cut off for seven hours a day, between 9 pm and 4 am, across most areas of the country, including the capital, Tunis. Those who do not adhere to the rationing order risk fines or even imprisonment.
Households now require bottled water for late-night washing, toilet use, and meal preparation. Drinking water usage on farms, in city green spaces, and for cleaning streets and cars has also been banned. Raoudha Dridi, spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry, said the order applies to all areas connected to the state-owned water system, but excludes rural areas that do not rely on this system.
Causes of water rationing in Tunisia
Water levels in Tunisia’s dams have significantly decreased, with some dams holding as little as 17% of possible storage capacity. Tunisia, predominantly desert, is also facing an economic crisis, with political tensions last year delaying talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $1.8 billion loan agreement to support the government.
The water rationing coincides with Ramadan, when water consumption usually increases, and the start of the tourist season, putting further strain on the country’s water supply. Tunisia relies on tourism for income, with approximately 850 hotels, many of which are near the Mediterranean Sea coast. Hotels and hospitals maintain water reserves that are replenished during the day and used when water is not running.