Close-up view: View captured from the rooftop of a traditional house
Cultural Heritage Conservation as a Driving Force toward Sustainable Water Management in Djerba Island


  • Sarra Ben Youssef




water-scarce islands, rainwater harvesting system, sustainable water management, water heritage, cultural heritage tourism


The island of Djerba is a tourist destination in the southeastern semi-arid region of Tunisia. Especially during peak tourism seasons, it experiences severe pressure on its water supply. Given the island’s historical water scarcity, locals have developed solutions to address the shortage, with one of the most notable being the rainwater harvesting and storage system. This system has evolved intricately over time, with meticulous attention to construction details, material selection, maintenance, and management strategies. This article posits that embracing and disseminating traditional rainwater harvesting knowledge can play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable water management. It also raises the question of whether fostering cultural heritage through a sustainable tourism orientation, aimed at highlighting heritage, aligns with this objective.

How to Cite

Ben Youssef, S. (2024). Cultural Heritage Conservation as a Driving Force toward Sustainable Water Management in Djerba Island . Blue Papers, 3(1).





methodologies and case studies

Author Biography

Sarra Ben Youssef

Sarra Ben Youssef is an architect and independent researcher working at the intersection of research and design. With a focus on urban strategies, heritage preservation, urban rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and sustainable cities, she aims to bring a multidisciplinary approach to her work. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Architecture (M’Arch 17) from the University of Carthage in Tunisia, as well as a Postgraduate diploma (2022) in urban heritage strategies from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Sarra is interested in both theoretical frameworks and practical applications. Her research interests encompass community-based approaches to addressing urban challenges, leveraging traditional off-grid knowledge to tackle water challenges, and understanding the historical and cultural contexts of water management practices, recognizing their significance in informing contemporary water management strategies. Through her interdisciplinary approach, Sarra seeks to contribute to the development of holistic, sustainable solutions for resilient cities and communities.


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