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Constraints and perspectives of hillside restraints in North-Western Algeria Volume 22, issue 1, Janvier-Mars 2011

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Université de Tlemcen Faculté des sciences de l’ingénieur Département d’hydraulique BP 230 13000 Tlemcen Algérie, INRF Institut national de la recherche forestière BP 88 Mansourah 13 000 Tlemcen Algérie

Algeria is a dry to semi-dry country. This dryness is the result of weak and variable annual rainfall and very high evaporation. A strategy of development and management of water resources was organized. Hill reservoirs represent a way of mobilizing surface water .Use of their water for agricultural purposes is one of the most important objectives of the different programs which have been implemented by the Algerian Government since the seventies. The policy in Algeria has been that small hydraulic works started only after independence, when the government envisaged a large program of construction of hill reservoirs. The construction of the first small dam of a state program dates back to 1976. It was followed by several other achievements. The results of this operation were discouraging owing to fast silting of the hill reservoirs, the low use of stored water and the relatively high cost of the constructions. Therefore, to identify to the best of our knowledge the main questions raised about these hill reservoirs and learn from this immense experimental field available in Algeria, an analysis of a sample of forty reservoirs is being carried out on two very representative zones of the north-west of Algeria. The watersheds in question, the Wadi Tafna (Tlemcen) and the Wadi El Hammam (Mascara), are characterized by a semi-dry climate of the Mediterranean type with a space-timed irregularity of rain (300 to 600 mm annually) and a short duration mode of strong intensity, a very steep relief, an often soft lithology and a very degraded vegetable landscape.