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How Is Water Scarcity Affecting Algeria Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2606 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Nowadays, all over the world one from two people has no access to drinking water and one from two people does not benefit connection to a sewerage system. Blue Gold plays a vital role in global warming and other phenomenon that is increasingly importance and which poses a problem in the management of water resources. Water shortages exacerbated by climate change that affects all continents and over 40% of the world population is already affected by the problem. 1.1 billion People lack access to clean water to meet their daily basis needs. 2.6 billion People lack access to sanitation adequate. The daily drinking water is 2 to 4 litters per person. They valued at approximately 130 litters / day / person in rural areas and 350 litters / day /person in urban areas these needs include all uses related to the activity daily of the person.

Algeria is a country in the semi-arid climate and is affected by the shortage. Its great urban population are under pressure, it becomes almost impossible to meet the demand. The constraints imposed by the water problems in Algeria hinder its development. Water resources are increasingly rare while the needs are increasing.

 In Algerian cities, water is no longer supplied continuously (Bethemont J. 1991). Schedules of distribution of drinking water directly influence the satisfaction of demand water population. Demand is growing more and more time and requires proportional growth in supply, this needs is rarely achieved. While the mobilization of water resources has never stopped growing, but this growth is insufficient and less than demand, resulting in a gap between the amounts requested and the volume delivered through the water.

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Oran, the second city in Algeria (western of Algeria) has annual rainfall very low, the location and climate has affected the type of crops suitable for region with the advent of independence of Algeria, decisions policies have unbalanced the existing micro-climate. The uprooting of vines and change the country’s agricultural policies have resulted in an exacerbation of the arid climate. Everyone is in fear of days without rain.

1-Brief about Oran

Oran is the second largest city of Algeria (from 48 provinces which called wilaya) and one of the largest in the Maghreb. Oran has preserved its identity while soaking up the influence of its successive occupants. It is a port city on the Mediterranean, north-western Algeria, and the chief town of the wilaya of the same name bordering the Gulf of Oran. It is Located 432 km west from the capital Algiers, the municipality had 685 000 inhabitants in 2007, while the town had about 1 235 000, it has a population of approximately 2 million inhabitants. The city is an economic and academic importance

Oran has a Mediterranean climate marked by a classic summer drought. During the summer months, rainfall becomes scarce or nonexistent, and the sky is bright and clear. The subtropical anticyclone covers the area from Oran for nearly four months. However the region is well watered during the winter. Low precipitation (294mm rainfall) and frequency (72.9 days per year) are also characteristic of this climate.

On the eve of the French colonization, there were only 18 000 inhabitants in Oran and its suburbs. Although during his good times, the city does not seem to have attracted over 30 000 inhabitants, the population of Oran double that figure only 50 years after the French arrived. Less than 70 years after the beginning of colonization, Oran passes 100 000 people to become the fifth French city. In the early twenty-first century, it has become one of the major cities of the Maghreb and approaches regularly by 1 000 000 Intramural people.

After the Evian agreements and the independence, Europe’s population abandoned the city. Half of Oran finds deserted homes left empty are quickly reinvested after independence.

2-Statement of the Issue/Problem

The demand for water needed for the promotion of industry and population use keeps increasing. Therefore, this situation caused by a lack of a strategy for water resources management resulted in the loss and waste of water resources. This has become critical as it hinders and blocks the development of the country’s economy.

In the city of Oran, water management poses a difficult problem for the authorities. The resources which are available are less than those which are required. The outdated fashion of water conveyance and insufficient storage capacity hinder the correct distribution of water to the consumers. The daily quota per inhabitant remains small in comparison with international norms. The water management is not efficient

Oran has in the past three decades an explosion worrying population, because not prepared to handle this influx of population. This situation resulting from two main reasons:

– Rural depopulation safe.

– Rural economic exodus

Population of the town of Oran from 1980 to 2010















RESOURCE: ministry of internal affairs -Algeria

This led to an exacerbation of socio-economic (housing, drinking water) and Public Health (access to care). The city of Oran always had a deficit in water resources and the deficit has increased exponentially with the disproportionate increase in the population. The curves of the evolution of Rainfall averages 14 years (1993 = 435.15 mm – 2007 mm = 251.2) show the deficit, which is correlated to the temperature rise. Configuration geographic region of Oran (plain) has disrupted its water policy, since it has no reserves of its own. The city has always been dependent on other provinces (Tlemcen, Mostaganem, Chlef) for its needs water.

Proportion of distribution of water potable in the city of Oran %

RESOURCE: ministry of water resources-Algeria

According to the ministry of water resources statistic (2007) there are only 27 percent of inhabitants receive the water potable every day, while 21 percent receive it every two days, and more than 50 percent of inhabitants do not receive water drinking regularly, 24 percent of them receive it each three days and 17 percent receive it each four days, while the others 11 percent cannot access to the water drinking less than 4 days.

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the water strategy was depending mainly on rainfall, while The quantities needed by the population have continued decline in recent years in Oran, because of the disproportionate between the needs and the demands, the population have increased year after year while the resources have decreased (1993 = 435.15 mm – 2007 mm = 251.2) and this causes drought phenomenon which may lead to the lake of water drinking.

Resource: ministry of agriculture and irrigation

The department of irrigation in Oran consider the needs of the city from drinking water per day around 320 000 cubic meters, while the amount currently produced and directed to distribute is approximately 200 000 cubic meters per day.

This critical situation creates the re-emergence of diseases previously under control, such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, viral hepatitis A and E and fever Parasitic diseases are not left behind and make a resurgence worries health services (malaria, schistosomiasis, and leishmaniasis)

2-The local government policy of water potable in Oran:

The main objective of the state water policy consists on providing sufficient potable water for the population supply. This objective was undertaken by increasing the water resources and availability. The local authority has put into action a wide programme taking into consideration several tasks, as:

2- 1-Increase rainfall collect capacity (dams construction):

Since the local government policy was depending largely on the rainfall, the government has tried to exploit this resource by increasing their capacity of storage by building new dams, such as BENI BAHDEL dam. Its volume is 63 million cubic meters of water. To reach the city of Oran, the services of the hydraulic build some 170 kilometres of pipelines. The work has continued for ten years. The construction of dams will result in a substantial reduction of the impacts, namely landscape change. Construction of a rock fill dam would indeed require the extraction of quarry from the near sites can Produce 4.82 million cubic aggregates for the construction of the dam.

2-2 Implement new way of management: The local government have tried to implement the resolutions; to ease conflicts between the regions in urban and rural water development by adopting agricultural approaches more effective, such as the use of irrigation technology consumes less water, and the development of agricultural production programs saving water. (Such as olive, etc)

2- 3-Depending to other province: to secure the needs of the city from drinking water, the local government follow a policy that aim to achieve their inhabitants need from the potable water by bring it from the neighbour provinces such as Mostaganem, Tlemcen, Chlef …etc, these provinces have additional resources of water

2-4- Restore cities water distribution facilities: the local government have tried to restore the network of water distribution; one of the major reasons that cause the water potable deficit is the incompetence of this network which causes sometimes the waste and misuse of water.

2-5 National water Law (revised in 1996 under law No. 96-13). This Code includes several articles related to wastewater discharge, pollution abatement, the Protection and preservation of water bodies and wastewater reuse for agricultural and Industrial purpose

3-The alternative policies:

Although the effort that have been made and the actions that have been taken by the local government but the problem is still exist, the inhabitants still find a difficult to access to the water potable, and this may refer to the policies that have been implemented by the government to deal with this problem, however there are others policies could be more effective to solve this issue, this policies could be described as follow:

3-1Seawater Desalination:

To overcome the lack of water and cope with ever-growing needs, given the population growth potable water, the local government could think about the desalination of seawater, as an alternative solution to deal with the drinking water problem, it could opt for seawater desalination especially since this solution is not dependent on weather. reverse osmosis units must install for the next years to produce a total capacity of 57.500 m3 per day, this quantity could help to ease the problem by providing a certain pert of the city needs, while the cost of creating a desalination unit is approximately 30 million dollar, comparing with the cost of transferring water from the other province 6000 billion dinner= 1 billion dollar, seem very sheep

Seawater desalination could be regarded as a strategic option to secure the population needs of water supply. An ambitious program is actually undertaken to equip other province (the capital Algiers) by seawater desalination plants ranging from 50 000 to 200 000 m3 per day

3-2 Exploit of Ground water: A lot of water experts indicates that ground water resources in Algeria are estimated at 43 trillion cubic meters, 4 000 billion are used each year, more than 5 trillion are located in the north east (Oran in other province). This resources could be exploited and contribute in resolving water problem. Though the consumption of individuals varies between 100 m3 and 5000 m3 per year and that Algeria is ranked among the poorest countries in this context, with less than 700 cubic meters. They state that water resources are abundant in Oran region but not exploited, and that one in six of the world, finds it difficult to have regular or even periodically water to resolve this problem. International reports reveal, in the same context that Algeria suffers from a lack in water, and water experts indicate that the average consumer in the region reached 500 cubic meters per year, warning against the emergence of serious crisis in 15 years.

4- Recommendation: according to the alternative policies that have been mentioned above, and regarding to the resources that are available the recommendation in this issue can be addressed as follow:

1- The Oran local government decision-makers have relied on rainfall as a resource of the drinking water, they must move towards a policy of mobilizing non-conventional water resources. The operation has already been launched across other parts of the country and it achieves the success, and may it will become the solution for the town water crisis, where the lack of clean water is increasingly felt, and the aim of this policy is to double the current daily capacity.

2-All the water experts agree on the need to change the content specific policy of water. The management of water “must be transformed today’s “sustainable management of water” and this change in shape implies beyond political expediency, a substantive change. For the

policies implemented so far follow the logic of engineering domestication of natural water resources and adapt, often offering for application. However, we cannot also forget that water is a scarce resource in the time and space, which requires taking into account the needs of management, and social and environmental practices of water

3- The local government decision-makers and planners cannot simply ask the technicians to try and mobilize the water as it was practiced and is still far, but they must focus on identifying strategies to shape a more careful management of local resources and at the same time doubling efforts to control population growth. To achieve this; companies, governments and civil society must work hand in hand to reconcile three worlds that have long ignored: Economy, ecology and social. In the long term, there will be no development possible if it is not economically efficient, socially equitable and ecologically tolerable.

4- The local decision-makers should implement new polices that not rely mainly on rainfall, they should address the alternative policies that cost less and more efficient such as seawater desalination, it could be more effective to resolve the crisis of potable water with very less cost comparing to other chooses, establishing a unit of seawater desalination with capability of daily production 60 000 cubic meters does not cost more than 30 million dollar, while transferring water from other province could cost around 1 billion dollar.


In Algeria, even when not taking global climatic change into account, water scarcity is an important problem with acuity in many areas of the country. Since the seventies, dryness prevails in an intense and persistent way. The impact on the water resource already appeared through, the reduction in the rivers flow, the low level of filling dams and the global fall of the piezometric level of the principal country aquifers. In the future, the current deficits of the water resources will increase. This will lead to obvious problems of management and strategy to ensure a durable development for the country.


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