L'exploitation des eaux souterraines en Syrie centrale : construction de diagnostics et politiques d'intervention


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
L'exploitation des eaux souterraines en Syrie centrale : construction de diagnostics et politiques d'intervention
Saadé-Sbeih M.
Jaubert R., Erkman S.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnement
Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnementUniversité de LausanneUNIL - SorgeAmphipôle - bureau 314CH-1015 LausanneSUISSE
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REROID:R006381366 ill.
Syrian dry areas have been for several millennia a place of interaction between human populations and the environment. If environmental constraints and heterogeneity condition the human occupation and exploitation of resources, socio-political, economic and historical elements play a fundamental role. Since the late 1980s, Syrian dry areas are viewed as suffering a serious water crisis, due to groundwater overdraft. The Syrian administration and international development agencies believe that groundwater overexploitation is also leading to a decline of agricultural activities and to poverty increase. Action is thus required to address these problems.However, the overexploitation diagnosis needs to be reviewed. The overexploitation discourse appears in the context of Syria's opening to international organizations and to the market economy. It echoes the international discourse of "global water crisis". The diagnosis is based on national indicators recycling old Soviet data that has not been updated. In the post-Soviet era, the Syrian national water policy seems to abandon large surface water irrigation projects in favor of a strategy of water use rationalization and groundwater conservation in crisis regions, especially in the district of Salamieh.This groundwater conservation policy has a number of inconsistencies. It is justified for the administration and also probably for international donors, since it responds to an indisputable environmental emergency. However, efforts to conserve water are anecdotal or even counterproductive. The water conservation policy appears a posteriori as an extension of the national policy of food self-sufficiency. The dominant interpretation of overexploitation, and more generally of the water crisis, prevents any controversary approach of the status of resources and of the agricultural system in general and thus destroys any attempt to discuss alternatives with respect to groundwater management, allocation, and their inclusion in development programs.A revisited diagnosis of the situation needs to take into account spatial and temporal dimensions of the groundwater exploitation and to analyze the co-evolution of hydrogeological and agricultural systems. It should highlight the adjustments adopted to cope with environmental and economic variability, changes of water availability and regulatory measures enforcements. These elements play an important role for water availability and for the spatial, temporal, sectoral allocation of water resource. The groundwater exploitation in the last century has obviously had an impact on the environment, but the changes are not necessarily catastrophic.The current groundwater use in central Syria increases the uncertainty by reducing the ability of aquifers to buffer climatic changes. However, the climatic factor is not the only source of uncertainty. The high volatility of commodity prices, fuel, land and water, depending on the market but also on the will (and capacity) of the Syrian State to preserve social peace is a strong source of uncertainty. The research should consider the whole range of possibilities and propose alternatives that take into consideration the risks they imply for the water users, the political will to support or not the local access to water - thus involving a redefinition of the economic and social objectives - and finally the ability of international organizations to reconsider pre-established diagnoses.
Create date
08/02/2012 10:24
Last modification date
20/08/2019 14:08
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