NAWAMED Tunisia: co-creating a pathway to uptake technologies for the use of non-conventional water resources, amplifying the impact at economic and social level


How can the outputs of the national water tables be really considered in order to promote the Non-Conventional Water technologies? and what impact can this participatory approach have?

These are the two key questions that were debated by the stakeholders invited to participate in the 4th Tunisian Water Table that took place on May 27, 2022 in Tunis. This 4th Water Table is the last milestone of participatory process scheduled under the NAWAMED project with the objective to identify the challenges for promoting Non-Conventional Water Resources – NCWR in Tunisia.

The national coordinator, Prof. Bousselmi started the event by presenting the barriers and outputs of the three previous Tunisian Water Tables related to the promotion of Non-Conventional Water technologies applying several lenses as:   

-    financial instruments and promotion of the technology;
-    acceptability, availability, good practices and health safety of the technologies among users;
-    market access, public-private partnership, financial support and legal and administrative framework.

Awareness about the benefits and availability of the technology was presented considering the three components; education, incentives and social marketing. The successful pilot application of technology realized by national stakeholders and presented during the 2nd Water Table dedicated to “Current and emerging technologies in the fields of Water Demand Management (WDM) / Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR)” was summarized to underline the available expertise and the implemented best practices in Tunisia. 

Market access and how to bring the private sector to invest on and adapt NCWR technologies knowing that it would require a certain level of financial support was a subject of discussion between technologies holder (as research centres), the potential users (municipalities) and technologies providers (SMEs). The main issue is technologies TRL and how to make the transfer to SMEs for market access as well as the high risk in investment for SMEs due to the actual existing small market and the necessity to update strategies and legislative/administrative frameworks to facilitate technologies adoption and create the demand.

For more efficient exchange, three interactive sessions moderated by Prof Ahmed Ghrabi, were conducted. Stakeholders showed to be very interested for sharing their point of view, innovative ideas, pointed reflections, their proposals and their suggestions and also to share the learned lessons. Main outputs of the three sessions are summarized in this figure.

To create an R&D cell inside the company, it is essential to guarantee the market, so the support of the state is fundamental. In other words, to ensure the involvement of the enterprise in the technology transfer mechanism, it is imperative to ensure its benefit.

At the end of this workshop, discussion consisted essentially on how to continue this participative approach adopted by NAWAMED Project within the “Water Tables”.  Participants were in favor of building a cluster dedicated to Non-Conventional Water and to bring all the supports to the organization of "Tunisian Water Days" each year similar to other countries.