As pointed out by international organizations and an abundant scientific literature, water is a strategic issue in the Mediterranean region, mainly because of the rarefaction of the resources, in quantity and/or quality, facing the ever increasing demand and the problem of sharing water scarcity. Vulnerability linked with water is paramount in the semi‐arid North Africa, where climatic hazards and environmental changes induced by human activities reinforce the likelihood of crises, and where the unequal distribution of resources contributes to increasing the competition between water uses and users.
The AMETHYST project aims to analyze the co‐evolutions of the water resources under the influence of global change (climate and anthropogenic changes) and of the water uses trajectories. We focus our work on the Maghreb because a large range of evolutions is still possible in this region, far from the extremely severe situations of coastal Spain or Israël on one side, from the reasonably comfortable situations of northern Italy or south‐eastern France on the other side. Two case studies will be considered, the Merguellil catchment (near Kairouan, in central Tunisia) and the Tensift region (near Marrakech, Morocco). They are emblematic of water scarcity issues, with rich complementarities in terms of environmental context, water uses, sector competitions, hydraulic history and current water policies. They can also provide large sets of data because of previous long‐term research works.
We propose an inter‐disciplinary project combining physical, social, economic and political sciences, with three research axes:
The high ambition of this project is to enhance exchanges between environmental and human sciences at every step of the research, from the acquisition of data to the common definition of prospective scenarios. This shared approach seems the best
answer to the urgent water issues in the region, and in particular for providing concrete elements of information to water managers, authorities and stakeholders with whom we will work for the whole duration of the project.