September 16, 2019
 In Access to Water and Sanitation

Country: Tunisia
Delegate Name: Nikhil Talla

Water is arguably the most vital resource; humans need water to survive for many reasons. Drinking, bathing, cooking, and washing hands are just a few of the vital applications of this critical resource. Humans around the world have a lack of access to safe water and sanitation, causing many health problems. According to the CDC, 884 million people did not have safe water to drink, and 1.2 million people died as a result of unsafe water sources in 2017. The United Nations has set goals to solve this problem, but more work has to be done to ensure water access and sanitation for everyone. Water use efficiency needs to be improved, and water-based ecosystems need to be protected.

The Republic of Tunisia has a rural population of thirty percent, and is, by United Nations water standards, a “very water scarce country.” Created in 1968, the National Water Supply Authority in Tunisia (SONEDE) was made responsible for the provision of water supply services by the Tunisian government. SONEDE is a public, non-administrative entity that is supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, and Hydraulic Resources (MAERH). SONEDE provides drinking water to 100% of the urban population in Tunisia and around 50% of the rural population. The Tunisian government placed the National Office of Sanitation of Tunisia (ONAS) in charge of sanitation and protection of the environment in cities, industrial zones, and tourist zones. Currently, all the urban population has basic drinking water access, but this decreases to 83% for the rural population. For sanitation, 89% of urban households use improved sanitation facilities, while in rural areas, 56% of households use latrines, and 20% use septic tanks. Of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, Tunisia has the highest access to water rates. Tunisia’s government has made progress but is still pushing for better water access and sanitation to fulfill all needs and reduce all health risks.

The lack of water access and sanitation creates adverse health problems, and Tunisia plans to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop cheaper ways to access water. This includes developing new technologies and methods to allow all citizens to get the water they need. Possible solutions include desalination plants, well drilling, and Household Water Treatment and Safe Storages (HWTS). Tunisia is also willing to pilot new technologies that are developed by either the United Nations, other governments, or NGOs. Tunisia is open to other solutions that address the lack of water and sanitation.

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