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Folder Workshop on water accounts, Rabat, 11-13/09/2012

Training Workshop on the water accounts and statistics for North African French speaking countries

Developing water accounts in North Africa

This Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for North African French Speaking Countries was organized by UN Division on Statistics and the European Environment Agency and hosted by the “Haut Commissariat au Plan” of Morocco. This meeting is a key milestone of the ENPI-SEIS project implemented by the European Environment Agency (EEA) that focus on paving the way towards a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in the European Neighborhood countries. A similar workshop was organized in Lebanon before summer for English speaking South Mediterranean countries. The workshop was attended by some 40 persons with representatives from statistics divisions and water resources management from Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Mauritius and Tunisia; basin authorities, water supply and sanitation companies and environment authorities from Morocco; and international experts from EEA, UNDS, UNEP, Austrian Environment Agency and EMWIS.

The workshop was very interactive with lectures, debates and small group exercises. The participants were explained how water accounts and statistics can be used for fact based policy making. They received guidance through hands-on examples, on how to implement water accounts and statistics in their countries according to SEEA-Water and IRWS, as well as using the SEIS principles. Each country provided a state of play related to water accounts, Mauritius cases being used as a good practice for deeper analysis as the implementation and exploitation of physical and monetary accounts were presented.

An interesting debate took part around the appropriate level to carry out the “water accounts”. Today water accounts are mainly compiled on annual basis and at national level, the objective being to make multi annual analysis. But water resources authorities point out the need to work at river basin level and with a seasonal time scale. This debate was the opportunity to introduce the work done at the EU level with ECRINS and water accounts at sub-basin level as well as to present the pilot projects on the use of water accounts to halt desertification and support the choice of measures for drought management plan in particular in the case of the Jucar pilot basin.

The statistic division of Morocco presented a project of water accounts carried out on the river basin of Oum-Er-Bia for 2004. An integrated water account was carried out compiling information on water balance, economy and social issues related to water (e.g. access to water, employment and incomes, diseases). Even if the result is not fully exhaustive due to the lack of statistics desegregated at local and regional levels as well as river basin management area not fully coherent with administrative units, this exercise highlighted the added value of combining the classical hydrologic water balance (physical water accounts) with economical and social statistics to provide evidences for decision and policy makers. The SEEA-W provides an appropriate framework for such an analysis.

The importance of linking the development of water accounts with the National Water Information Systems –NWIS- under developments appeared several times during the workshop. Indeed, resources should not spent on the development of new databases but rather on streamlining data flows between distributed systems as recommended by the SEIS approach. The coordination with NWIS will also be beneficial for building and maintaining the partnership with the main data providers as this partnership is a key part of the institutional component of the NWIS development and operation.

Finally, the role of the water accounts in a broader picture of ecosystem accounts was demonstrated with the case Kenya providing evidences on the cross-linkages between sectoral policies (e.g. energy, forestry, agriculture, natural resources) and the interest of an integrated approach.

For further information:


  Agenda and list of participants 
  Background documents 
  Donees pays 



URL EEA-UNSD_CEA/AN_Atelier sur les statistiques et comptes de l’eau_Rabat_Sept2012
URL Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for North African French Speaking Countries (Algeria, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia)