The Jebel Zaghouan catchment

The Jebel Zaghouan catchment is located about 60 km south of the Tunisian capital Tunis and covers an area of 19 km² of moderate to high karstified Jurassic and Cretaceous limestone. Since Roman times, the karst springs of Zaghouan supplied drinking water for the local residences and the capital (Carthage then Tunis) via an aqueduct over a distance of approx. 132 km. Due to the drought in the 1940s, two galleries were drilled and in the 1990s a series of additional abstraction wells.

The catchment area is characterised by forestry and agricultural activities, especially for fruit and vegetable cultivation, which depend on the local groundwater. Current and future challenges concern water availability and quality in relation to anthropogenic use and climate change.