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Evaluation des services de l’eau agricole et renforcement des interactions des acteurs de la gestion de l’eau-Cas d’un système à multi niveaux de gestion (périmètre public irrigué de Zaouiet Jedidi, Cap Bon-Tunisie)

Abstract : Community‐managed irrigation systems are commonly faced with problems of low system‐level performance. These issues became the subject of constant researches, debates and controversies, given the significant investments and successive reforms undertaken to improve the management of irrigation systems. The lack of relevance and effectiveness of the current interventions to improve the water management can be explained, in part, by the complexity of the managing irrigation systems. Indeed, the evolution of these systems (context, history, use trends), the complexity of interaction’s processes between different system levels and the interdependencies between its various actors (managers or users) are evidences proving the urge to strengthen links between evaluation and improvement approaches of the management of irrigation systems. In order to do so, we have come to face the dilemma of evaluation approaches, which bring out undeniably negative tones in terms of the performance of these systems, without tackling the root causes of the problems or guiding improvement interventions. On the other hand, the weak mobilization of water actors around these interventions and the failure of active involvement of local actors (farmers and GDAs) in the processes of formulating their needs and solving their problems, have hindered several interventions for the amelioration of water management and called into question their legitimacy and effectiveness. The involvement of local actors in solving their own problems and improving their adaptive capacity does not guarantee the success of these interventions but can at least improve their results. This thesis aims to evaluate the management of an irrigation system with perennial citrus orchards in northern Tunisia, particularly in the irrigation system of Zaouiet Jedidi, and to support the local actors in the co-construction and the implementation of an intervention for the improvement of irrigation water management. We are interested in the study of a system that highlights the complexity of the management problems of collective irrigation systems. It is a multi-level, multi-actor system that is limited in its ability of adaptation to a situation of water scarcity that has been undergoing for several years. Instead of limiting ourselves to judging the effectiveness of the current management of the irrigated systems, we have focused on a causal analysis that links symptoms and causes of malfunction. We have based our analysis on a systemic and global approach of different levels of the system and the interactions between them, and we have chosen to study how different actors may react to a physical constraint in terms of management rules and coordination mechanisms that they created, shaped or rejected. We have used the results of this evaluation in planning and assisting in the improvement of irrigation management as a part of an action-research project. Finally, we have analyzed the extent to which such intervention based on stakeholders’ participation and strengthening of coordination mechanisms, may allow these stakeholders to interact during a process of collective learning and to improve their ability to adapt to constraints of the system. The analysis of the water resources situation of this system shows that there is a situation of water scarcity. This scarcity is linked to the use of the groundwater and surface water resources and the distribution policies between different users. In order to manage the uncertainty that characterized this system's water supply, managers are often opting for compromises and changes to the collective rules. These compromises have been in some cases successful in alleviating the impacts of the scarcity, and in others, they have worsen the malfunction of this system and increased the vulnerability of some users. We have highlighted the weaknesses of the coordination mechanisms between most stakeholders’ interfaces. Next, we have analyzed the logics and the factors that explain these failures. By analyzing how farmers respond to this water shortage, we have highlighted a wide variety of individual strategies and practices that tend to maximize access to the surface and groundwater resources with different capacities. However, these practices, which may have individual gains for some farmers, obviously have negative implications for the collective performance of the system. Finally, supporting the implementation of a process of participatory improvement in this irrigated perimeter and the evaluation of its effects enabled us to validate the role of learning by changing the perception of actors. This change had facilitated the problem-solving process in some stages of the intervention, but hindered it in others. The analytical framework developed in this thesis helps to move forward reflection on improvement interventions through a better understanding of individual and collective rationality models that actually govern the management of irrigated systems. Decrypting these models allows the development of guidelines for irrigation management improvement adapted to the context of these systems. In the case of irrigated public systems, where the collective management of water is marked by conflicts of interest and power games, the reinforcement of interaction between different actors open opportunities for improvement to consider in the processes of development of management policies of irrigated systems. Assessing effects of local stakeholders’ participation in these processes helps to analyze the limitations of theoretical frameworks and to report practical difficulties of conducting improvement actions in such a complex situation of collective management of water resources.
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Intissar Ferchichi. Evaluation des services de l’eau agricole et renforcement des interactions des acteurs de la gestion de l’eau-Cas d’un système à multi niveaux de gestion (périmètre public irrigué de Zaouiet Jedidi, Cap Bon-Tunisie). Agriculture, économie et politique. Institut National Agronomique en Tunisie, 2017. Français. ⟨tel-01891527⟩



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