Farmers’ Adaptive Strategies in Face to Groundwater Depletion: A Short-Term Panacea or a Sustainable Solution? Evidences from the Center of Tunisia

  • Hacib El AmamiEmail author
  • Taoufik Hermassi
  • Nada Lellia
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


In a virtual absence of effective regulation, the large scale adoption of surface wells in the Center of Tunisia have led to enormous extraction rates of groundwater, often exceeding natural recharge rates. To overcome the negative impact of groundwater depletion, farmers adopt in general several coping strategies. This study aimed to identify the type of strategies adopted and to quantify their potential to mitigate the negative impact on farmers’ income. To this end a survey was undertaken over 95 small farmers, owning less than 5 ha and using surface well for irrigation. A linear programming model was applied to a representative farm. Results showed that as a first step, farmers act on crops selection and agriculture practices so to minimize the impact of water shortage. However, this implies losses in farmer’s income. This study suggests that, even though there are some successes, adaptive strategies should be considered as “short-term panaceas” and not a sustainable solution, as they are not able to prevent further losses in farmer’s income directly resulting from overexploitation and increasing pumping cost.


Groundwater Depletion Adaptive strategies Short term panaceas Sustainable 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Research in Rural Engineering, Water and ForestsArianaTunisia
  2. 2.National Agronomic InstituteArianaTunisia

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