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Maghreb Countries / North Africa

Northwestern Sahara Aquifer System / SASS-Aquifer (Tunisia/Algeria/Libya):


“The North-Western Sahara Aquifer System, better known after its acronym in French as SASS (“Système d’Aquifères du Sahara Septentrional”) is a groundwater resource and freshwater reservoir underlying parts of Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.

It occurs at varying depths (as deep as 1000m) and has negligible recharge. Intense development by the three countries in the past thirty years has exposed to aquifer to a serious risk of groundwater drawdown, loss of artesian pressure, and salinization, across the national borders.”



SASS (Système Aquifère du Sahara Septentrional) project (North-western Sahara Aquifer System)

“The Steering Committee of the SASS III project held its final meeting on 20-21 October 2014 in Tunis.

Entitled “Operational recommendations for the sustainable management of the North-Western Sahara Aquifer System” (SASS III), the project focused on water utilization (in irrigation) and the socio-economic and environmental aspects related to irrigation practices in the basin shared by Algeria,


A survey conducted in 2011 in Tunisia showed that the irrigated surface in the Tunisian SASS part has reached more than 52 000 ha. The same thing was equally observed in Algeria. The overuse of the SASS basin led to a complete depletion of most of its water resources, loss of artesian pressure, lowering of the piezometric level, and water degradation due to salinization.”



North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (SASS) Maps:

– Link –

– Link –

Transboundary-Aquifers North Africa:

– Link –



Hydrogeological section (showing underground rejections/folds):

– Link –


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