Algerian Government Activates “Water Police” to Curb the Effects of Water Stress

Algerian government led by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, activated the “water police” to curb the effects of water stress that the country currently faces, Afrik21 reported.

Instituted within the framework of the Algerian law n֯ 05-12 August 2005, the policy focuses on the overexploitation of surface and groundwater, as well as water wastage. The decision was prompted by the threat of water stress and aimed to regulate the use of the water sources available in the country in all areas, especially agriculture, which uses about 70% of the resources.  

According to Article 161 of this law, the agents of “water police” will access and assess the works and installations exploited for the use of the public hydraulic domain. The agents may also require the operator or owners of such works and installations to put them into operations to verify the processes and documentation required for their mission accomplishment.

The agents are also mandated to carry out post-research observations and investigate infringements committed by recording facts and statements of their authors in reports so they can seek intervention from the Algerian Army.

The Algerian water stress can be attributed to the effects of climate change that have led to disrupted rainfall trends resulting in prolonged droughts and reduced levels of dam filling, putting the country the 29th among the nations most affected by drought, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Data from the National Agency for Dams and Transfers (ANBT) also showed the average rate of filling of dams barely reached 44.5% in 2021, underscoring the threat of water stress. Effectiveness in “water police” will save Algeria from reaching a “critical” level by 2040, when 80% of the country’s available water resources will be used each year, according to WRI stresses. The response to water stress also includes pipeline repair to reduce water loss through leakages, continuously developing non-conventional water resources, and popularizing modern water use techniques.