Beja: drinking water system in Tunisia is ''healthy and fully protected'' (Mechichi)

March 23, 2021

(TAP) - The drinking water system in Tunisia is 'healthy and fully protected', Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said as he made a field visit to Sidi Salem dam and the village of Oued Zergua in the governorate of Beja, on World Water Day Monday.

In a statement to TAP, he stressed that water intended for human consumption are 100% healthy and consistent with the international standards established by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, he regretted the bad behavior of some people who discharge polluted water around dams.

The legal arsenal that entered into force before the evolution of the industrial and economic fabric does not include needed penalties, he noted.

Mechichi said the government has addressed the issue of revising the water code to tighten penalties and change some laws relating to pollution, saying 'we are in the discussion phase to implement all proposals including that of 'polluter pays.

He welcomed the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, saying the investigation that had to be conducted in 48 hours recently revealed that the drinking water system is consistent.

Tunisia will develop a strategic study on the water system to cope with the scarcity of this commodity in the coming periods, he further indicated.

The Prime Minister also announced the start of sanitation work, the establishment of networks and the installation of a sewage plant in Oued Zergua.

Social issues concerning this region will be considered at the next cabinet meeting, he pointed out.

Residents of Oued Zergua held sit-ins, on the sidelines of the visit of the PM, over local development and sanitation, blocked projects and lack of public facilities, said civil society activist Habib Ayari.

He added that the lack of sanitation and sewage flowing directly into the Sidi Salem dam is 'an outrage”, calling for the need to preserve this achievement and make it a factor of development and a vector of tourism in the region.

The dam Sidi Salem is the largest dam in Tunisia with a capacity to receive more than 560 million cubic meters and its filling rate is currently estimated at 50%, according to Abderraouf Jaziri, Regional Commissioner for Agriculture.

MP and chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Administrative Reform, Governance and Anti-Corruption Badreddine Gammoudi had indicated after visiting the Sidi Salem dam Salem, he noted a lack of effort to preserve the stock of water heavily polluted.

He reported a discharge of wastewater from industrial and agricultural enterprises as well as urban areas and the sewage plant of Beja into the dam and presence of dead animals.


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