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Regional Knowledge Program on Water

Status: Active
  • Lead Organization(s)

    Center for Mediterranean Integration


    Partner Organization(s)

    • Agence Française du Developpement
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
    • Plan Bleu
    • World Bank
    • CIHEAM


    Regional Context

    The Mediterranean region is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change and will increasingly be exposed to extreme climate events.  It is currently facing serious water challenges. Climate change will place already scarce water resources under intense pressure in the region, with major consequences for human life, the environment and regional food security.



    The main objective of the Regional Knowledge Program on Water is to build awareness on water scarcity and work towards water security in the Mediterranean in the context of climate change.


    CMI seeks to do this by supporting regional dialogue on efficient approaches to water management, as well as innovations and partnerships aimed at scaling up the region’s adaptation and mitigation capacities. Based on CMI’s and partners’ previous and ongoing work, and broad consultations with partners, the following program areas were defined for the coming year:


    • Groundwater Resources Management
    • Non-conventional water sources and Private-Public Partnerships
    • Performance-Based Approaches for Utilities
    • Cross-cutting: Building Regional Water Awareness


    Selected Outcomes

    Water Resource Management


    Pilot project to re-establish continuous 24/7 water supply in Beirut through peer-to-peer exchanges with Malta

    As part of the CMI regional initiative for water losses reduction in the Mediterranean, a peer-to-peer exchange was carried out between a Maltese and a Lebanese water utility. The Maltese water utility provided technical assistance to other MENA urban water utilities suffering from high water losses levels and intermittent supply. This exchange led to the re-establishment of continuous 24/7 water supply in a pilot area of downtown Beirut, and reoriented the World Bank’s dialogue with the Lebanese water utility by engaging it in a reform strategy for sustainable water distribution in greater Beirut. This exchange was also underlined by the visit of the Prime Minister of Malta to Lebanon in 2016.


    Creation of a CMI water expert hub to work on priority water issues in the Mediterranean

    The CMI convened two consultation meetings from October 2015 to January 2016, followed by two Ad Hoc Expert Meetings, involving AFD, GIZ, Plan Bleu and the World Bank Global Water Practice. This allowed the previously informal CMI water hub to reach consensus on the way forward for the year to come, and to determine the water program’s priority areas, which will be further developed throughout 2016-2017 through events and knowledge-sharing. The emergence of this water expert hub will allow for increased integration on water issues in the water-scarce Mediterranean region, while taking into account best practices and experiences from around the world.


    “Water- a Driver of Development in the Mediterranean”

    CMI co-organized a session on water with Plan Bleu at the First Sustainable Development Goals Summer School in Marseille (July 2016), organized by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Aix-Marseille University and the French Development Agency.


    Water Demand Management

     “How do we see our Water Future?” – Strategic planning in Tunisia

    The national workshop held in Tunis, Tunisia in December 2015 took place in an evolving governance context, with the finalization of the new Water Code and the reform of water users’ associations. Lively presentations and discussions yielded a series of concrete recommendations on water efficiency, water pricing and recovery of water charges, and stressed the need for a renewed “water social contract” amongst stakeholders and generations. Some of the country’s successful experiences in groundwater management showed a potential for replication in other regions of Tunisia. Furthermore, many of the situations and solutions discussed at the workshop are of interest for the whole MENA area and will be shared region-wide.


    “Water Demand Management for beginners” and advanced decision makers

    Following two synthesis papers in early 2015, a research paper and a technical report with case studies were released by AFD on the management of groundwater resources as common goods. The research paper will be an input to the forthcoming WDR 2017 “Governance and the Law”. The CMI work on WDM was also showcased at three major events: the October 2015 session of the French Hydrological Society on “Water Tensions in Europe and the Mediterranean”; the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Irrigation held in Montpellier, France, the same month (with the research center IRSTEA); and the Marseille International Summer School on SDGs in July 2016 (with Plan Bleu).


    Expected Outcomes

    Facilitating Knowledge Exchange on key water challenges in the Mediterranean

    13-14 December 2016: Regional workshop on desalination, public-private partnerships and performance-based approaches for utilities in collaboration with the World Bank Water Global Practice and CMI partners in Marseille

    9-10 March 2017: Regional workshop on Groundwater Management, in collaboration with AFD and other partners at the CMI in Marseille.


    Raising Awareness on Water scarcity in the Mediterranean

    March 2017: Water Awareness building event around the United Nations International Water Day