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Project Integrated water management of Mediterranean phosphate mining and local agricultural systems

El'Maa is a Research Project of the INCO-MPC 6th European Union Framework Programme dedicated to the co-operation between European and Mediterranean countries.

The El'Maa project meets this strategic need: to reduce tensions on water resources (quantity and quality) at regional scale; to consolidate the sustainable development of the phosphate mining industry by focussing on the interface between the mining and agricultural sectors.

- The phosphate industry is a major contributor to the economy of some Mediterranean countries (i.e. Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, etc). Large volumes of water are required by the mining industry from areas where water resources are scarce or limited. Water scarcity may be worsened by a degradation of the water quality after phosphate processing. The pressure on water is liable to hamper the development of phosphate industry and results in competition with other water reliant economic sectors such as agriculture or tourism.

Project number PL 015410
Acronym ELMAA
Geographical coverage France, Morocco
Budget (in €) 2100000
Programme INCO MED (FP6)
Web site
Objectives The general objective of El’Maa is to provide the phosphate industry and the water managers with a methodology for the integrated management of water resources in the zone of influence of the mine sites and provide technological innovations to reduce the pressure on water resources, in mining (e.g., use of municipal wastewater in phosphate process) and agricultural practices (e.g. use of phosphate process water).

Objective: to provide the phosphate industry and water managers with a methodology for integrated management of water in the zone affected by mines and supply technological innovations to reduce the pressure on water resources (e.g., use of municipal wastewater in phosphate process).

This methodology will integrate a customised Decision Support System with a realistic representation of water management system, integrating technical, economic, social and environmental dimensions. El'Maa DSS will serve i) to identify and rank the factors controlling water management and sharing; ii) to optimize the water consumption and re-use; iii) to measure the potential impact of changes in the mining and agricultural practices related to technological innovation or evolutions in the institutional or regulatory framework. It is accordingly possible for the phosphate industry as well as the institutional players to rank the actions to be initiated and hence to propose action plans.

Results The references of the publications produced by the team of the El'Maa project.
Publications references

"Projet “ELMAA”
Hamdani Ben Ali
"Système d'aide à la décision : Conception et mise en oeuvre, cas du projet Elmaa"
IX Congrès Mondial de Droit Agraire de l'UMAU - Union Mondiale des Spécialistes Universitaires en matière de Droit Agraire
November 27-30, 2007, Marrakech – Essaouira (Morroco)

Gestion intégrée de l'eau et du système agricole local dans une région minière méditerranéenne : Le projet El'Maa
Bousselmi L, Chik A., Dercas N, Gaboriau H, Hemdani B.A., Rimawi O., Smedt De F., Tarhouni J.
Poster ( PDF file - 470 KB) - Summary (PDF file - 92 KB)

MEDA WATER - International Conference on Sustainable Water Management
March 21-24, 2007, Tunis (Tunisia),

Integrated water management of Mediterranean phosphate mining and local agricultural systems: The El'Maa project
Dr. H. Gaboriau (BRGM), Dr. A. Chik (CERPHOS, OCP Group)
AFA 18th International Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition
July 5-7, 2005, Casablanca - Morocco
(via - PDF file - 172 KB)


PU = Public
RE = Restricted to a group specified by the consortium (including the Commission Services)
CO = Restricted to the European Commission

(Files format is PDF)


Level of dissemination

D0.1 International workshop on water management in phosphate industry in Morocco + Proceedings PU WP0
D1.1 Summary report on water management in the phosphate industry of Mediterranean countries
  • Annex 1
  • Annex 2
  • Annex 3
D1.2 Report on the potential evolution of the factors by the 2025 horizon and resulting water management scenarios RE
D2.1 Descriptive report on water management in the two selected phosphate mining sites CO WP2
D2.2 Reports on additional experimental studies (monitoring and laboratory tests including waste water treatment and slimes solid/liquid experiments) CO
D2.3 Reports on recommendations for the optimisation of water consumption and use of alternative water resources CO
D2.4 Models describing water balance and in the three components : phosphate mine, beneficiation plant, slimes impoundments CO
D3.1 Report on agricultural practices related to water management, their evaluation and establishment of the water balance in the studied areas. In the report the impact of improved agricultural techniques and water management on the water balance will be evaluated. RE WP3
D3.2 Report on the evaluation of the impact of mining water and slimes on the production of the main crops of the areas. Report on the risk of underground and surface water contamination and soil degradation by the use of mining water and slimes CO
D3.3 Hydrodynamic model calibrated for the main soil types of the studied areas RE
D4.1 Report on geological and hydrogeological context PU WP4
D4.2 GIS database and thematic maps RE
D4.3 Distributed numerical model of the groundwater flow within the influence area of the studied phosphate mine RE
D4.4 Report describing the « homogeneous units » of the area from a hydro/hydrogeo-logical point of view. CO
D5.1 Report on the socioeconomic profile of the regions and its impact on water management RE WP5
D5.2 Report on relations between socioeconomic sectors and mining and agricultural industry concerning water management. This report will identify the main water actors, describe the user behaviours and give a prospective view of the use of the water resources (2025 horizon) RE
D6.1 Report on the elaboration of the conceptual model of water management in the mine area, including breakdown into HRU and relations between them RE WP6
D6.2 Numerical model library RE
D6.3 Numerical simulator (integrated model) RE
D6.4 Report on the development, calibration and validation of the integrated model RE
D7.1 Decision support system for the management of water resources with Graphical User Interface (GUI) RE WP7
D7.2 Summary report presenting the simulated scenarios, the results obtained and management recommendations (ranking of the routes of technological innovations on the basis of technical criteria as well as environmental and socioeconomic criteria RE
D7.3 Report on the incentive institutional framework for water conservation RE


Period [01/07/2007 - 01/07/2010]


  • BRGM
    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Address Orléans
    Country France
    Contact Dr. Hervé Gaboriau,
    Position: General coordinator of the project
    Phone/fax: ,

Funding sources

  • European Commission
    Project was launched on September 1st 2005. Duration is 36 months.
    Total Budget is 2.1 M€ (EC 1.6 M€)
    Source EC INCO MED
    Programme INCO MED
    Funding rate 76