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Project Management, Protection and Sustainable Use of Groundwater and Soil Resources

This project was launched in 1997 within the framework of Arab-German Technical Cooperation. Since August 2008 the project is running in its fourth phase. The Arab Partner is the

Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD).
ACSAD is an autonomous body under the auspices of the Arab League, promoting the enhancement and transfer of know-how related to agricultural and socio-economic development. In this context ACSAD plays the role of a technical advisor, training institution and common scientific platform for the member countries of the Arab Region. (>more about ACSAD)

Funding comes from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which commissioned the

German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)
for implementation from the German side. BGR has been a worldwide partner of German Technical Cooperation for decades and provides advisory services to developing countries in a broad range of geo-related fields. BGR is based in Hannover, Germany. (>more about BGR)

The project office is located at ACSAD headquarters in Damascus, Syria.



The project activities in the Pilot Areas take place in close cooperation with concerned national institutions. Specialists from our partner institutions participate in common workshops, convey project findings and recommendations to national decision-makers and provide the link to the community level in the Pilot Areas.

Special attention deserves our partnership with the National Center for Remote Sensing (NCRS) in Lebanon. The center is responsible for the studies related to Soil Contamination in the Beka'a Valley and has made valuable contributions to the project's progress in this and related fields.



Ministry of Irrigation

Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform - General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research

•Ministry of Local Administration and Environment

• Water Resources Information Center (WRIC)

• General Directorate of Barada and Awaj River Basin (GDBAB)

• Drinking Water Supply and Sewerage Authority - Damascus (DAWSSA)

• Drinking Water Supply Authority - Rural Damascus (DRA)

• Zabadani Minicipality



National Council for Scientific Research - National Center for Remote Sensing

• Ministry of Water and Energy

• Ministry of Agriculture



• General Directorate of Water Resources

• Institute National Agronomique de Tunisie, Tunis

• Ecole Superieure de Agronomique, Kef


•Ministry of Water and Environment

•Hydraulic Agency of Bouregreg and Chaouia Basin, Benslimane

Project number n/a
Geographical coverage Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco,
Budget (in €) 0
Programme Arab-German Technical Cooperation
Web site

In order to adress the problems resulting from the over-utilization of land and water resources, a new approach is needed.

Appropriate structures for the implementation of sustainable strategies have to be built up, developed and promoted, and respective national institutions or organisations as well as decision-makers on the community-level have to be made aware of these issues.

Due to its international character and expertise in groundwater and soil related issues, ACSAD is an ideal partner in the development and dissemination of integrated strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources in the Arab Region.


The project in its third and forth phase (April 2004 - July 2011) has the main objective of developping and making available

an efficient, inexpensive and easily sharable water planning and management tool - (Decision Support System - DSS) in order to work together towards a more integrated water resources management in the Middle East and beyond.



1. Establishing a data and information base

2. Developing applying a DSS-Software (WEAP21, MODFLOW2000, additional Models)

3. Application of a DSS in two pilot areas (Zabadani Basin, SYRIA and Berrechid Basin, MOROCCO)

4. Institutionalizing (including capacity building)

5. Dissemination

The Decision Support System (DSS) for Soil and Groundwater Management in the two pilot areas will give decision makers the necessary insight into the current status and the possible scenarios of the future development (population growth, agriculture development, etc.). In both pilot areas (Zabadani Basin Syria, Berrechid BasinMorocco) a water conflict between concurrent users already exists and so far no abstraction limits/ abstraction monitoring is implemented. Therefore the project aim is to collect all relevant data, get the representative water users together and jointly decide after the winter rains and the resulting calculated stored groundwater volumes by the aid of the DSS on the water shares for the current hydrologic year and future ones.

The DSS consists of 3 major components:

1. Project database: climate, well, spring, groundwater level, river discharge, groundwater/ surface water abstraction, soil, land use, irrigation data, etc.

2.2. Groundwater Flow Model (MODFLOW): for spatial assignment and calculation of the actual groundwater storage at each time step.

3.3. WEAP21 Model: as a user friendly planning-, evaluation-, scenario-calculation-and visualisation-tool (

The Project Database is designed for each pilot area separately, depending on the available local data sets. For the DSS-models the open source code MODFLOW 2000 and the for developing countries freely licensed software WEAP21 is applied in order to share and spread the DSS-Tool through the Arab region avoiding licensing costs and problems. A dynamic link between MODFLOW and WEAP21 and some additional WEAP21 modifications are developed for the DSS-improvement in cooperation with the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI), Boston, USA.

Period [01/04/2004 - 31/07/2011]