Hmaydeya, a small settlement within the Sousse Govenorate, sits around 10 kilometers away from the airport that shuttles tourists from Enfidha to the green resorts of the coast. The nearest road lies around two kilometers away, accessible to the villagers by either foot or donkey. Around 50 people live here, most in half-completed houses, some barely habitable. Many stand incomplete, either unpainted, lacking gas fittings or unfurnished. Children, most under the age of ten, play in the dirt with the small stones that litter Hmaydeya’s dirt tracks.
The residents of Hmaydeya have not had access to local running water for four months. What water they have must be carried by donkey from the nearest village of Sidi Saiden, whose own dam now sits bone dry in the day’s 40 degree heat.
Though not as badly affected as Hmaydeya, within Sousse water rationing and extended periods where no water is available at all have become the norm. Environmental engineer, Morched Garbouj, President of the association SOS BIAA, explained the “drought we are going through started in February in the South and it continued North from there, until it reached Sousse.” Lack of rainfall, already down 28 percent on last year’s total has had a devastating effect on the region’s water infrastructure. However, a disregard for maintaining its dams and barrages has had even more. “If not taken care of, the barrages will absorb the water” Garbouj said, diminishing the already shrinking amount available for consumption and agriculture.