The ad hoc management of natural environmental features and inappropriate social interventions could cause vulnerability of thriving urban ecosystems. For instance sub-aerial exposure, water-related hazards, urban intrinsic sensitivity, urban adaptation ability or flexibility and urban transformability factors could contribute a potential danger. In spite of seasonal climatic changes, the exposure indicates a significant geographical determinism whereas the other factors express its antithesis. The present paper aims to adapt a vulnerability–resilience indicators' multicriteria analysis to show the variability and contribution rate with regard to local water-related risks. The municipality of al-Harrash from Algiers has been selected as a case study. The urban vulnerability–resilience closely tied up with a sum of relevant indicators confirmed by the diagnosis items, which are relevant to the local urban and hydro systems. The cumulative sums are obtained from a classification process referring to several criteria implied in the water-related risks. These were formulated here for the purpose of a multicriteria analysis with the objective of assessing the urban vulnerability–resilience index and subsequently orientating the preventive strategy towards different levels of sustainable measures. With this respect the exposure and sensitivity received a significant score while adaptation ability and transformability scored very low.

INTRODUCTION

Natural hazards due to climate events have been increasing during last three decades (www.catnat.com). About half of them had a quite serious effect on developing countries where the social vulnerability reaches such a tragic threshold. The water-borne illnesses testify to the unhealthy conditions throughout the capitals and seem insurmountable (www.un.org).

The present paper argues that a couple of vulnerability–resilience factors represented by some key criteria and related indicators show different temporal and spatial impact parameters. The multicriterial analysis shows that some of these factors have a strong geographical determinism whilst others could be controlled or even corrected. Subsequently, however, such variabilities have been designated into different action programs so that adapting measures could be taken. These measures would be dependent on the urban water cycle and the landscape management system in addition to the water-sensitive urban planning/design pattern.

The objective of the present paper is to test this hypothesis assessing the vulnerability–resilience criteria and related indicators of al-Harrash municipality located in the second outskirts periphery of Algiers and crossed by al-Harrash River. Since the current national strategy objectives are concerned with informal settlement upgrading and the hydraulic planning system of the river banks in addition to large urban transport projects and environment preservation activities, al-Harrash municipality was suitable for such hypothesis testing.

CASE STUDY

The al-Harrash municipality counts 51,000 inhabitants living in 942 ha. Compared with the departmental average (RHPH 2008), the population density is moderate (48,869 inhab/942 ha with > 51 inhab/ha) and the demographic growth is low (0.1%). In 2009, there were about 9,537 lodgings, indicating an occupancy rate of 5.36 persons per habitation (less than the departmental average of 5.8).

The main activity of the municipality is related to commerce and industry. The surface area of the urban blocks is larger on one side the railway track than the other side, distinguishing two urban unsynchronized processes: the northern one is most ancient and planned while the Southern one is recent, seeming urgently arranged and unplanned. At present, about 9% of this habitat is decrepit, whilst about 9.6% is agglomerated within some dense precarious districts located both in the downtown and along the river banks. Compared to the meridional zone of the municipality, the central northern area is more populated and presents a small urban network organized into six homogeneous units (Figure 1). Here the residential density is such that there is a notable reduction in the soil permeability.
Figure 1

Al-Harrash river maritime catchment and al-Harrash municipality location (after the National Agency for Water Resources).

Figure 1

Al-Harrash river maritime catchment and al-Harrash municipality location (after the National Agency for Water Resources).

Except for the industrial zone which was created before Algerian independence (in 1962), the urban development of the southern zone resulted from the 1980s sociopolitical context. The ‘Trois Caves’ and ‘Kourifa’ lots have been divided by the municipality (by 1987) in order to receive the refugee populations fleeing terrorism in the surrounding countries. The proliferation of precarious and informal sites remains from that period, characterised by inadequate governance and weaknesses of the authorities. The additional population influx has initiated numerous self-built residential districts, still waiting for the transport and water network extension.

Specific features

Al-Harrash coastal municipality is located in the southern half of the capital Algiers, at the very mouth of al-Harrash River about 20 kilometres from the downtown. The latitudes and longitudes are 36° 43′ 16.46″ N, 3° 8′ 14.68″ E, respectively. The municipality is crossed by al-Harrash River and its tributary al-Samar River. The underground contains a rich groundwater table at a very shallow depth, regularly replenished by rainwater (about 672 mm/year) and the al-Harrash river tributaries. Al-Harrash River separates the western plain from the eastern plain and the right bank (0 to 50 m height) from the left bank (50 to 250 m height). The study municipality is mainly located on the right bank (Figure 2).
Figure 2

Al-Harrash municipality urban districts (after the Municipality urban planning service).

Figure 2

Al-Harrash municipality urban districts (after the Municipality urban planning service).

Since its hydrographic catchment extends more than 1,200 km², al-Harrash River is considered as a great river. The basin is divided into two small units: the up-stream basin (600 km²) and the seaside or maritime basin that contains two distinct parts: the plain (500 km², natural slope = 0 to 3%) and the hilly Sahel (100 km²). The mean water discharge of al-Harrash River is 4 to 5 m3/s. Yet, it can grow from zero during the low water period to 3,000 m3/s when flooding. This has been a reason to prohibit the drain of wastewaters across the river during the low rainy months.

Local water-related issues

The study area is located in western Algiers in a coastal wetland crossed by a river. Accordingly, it is threatened by some typical related risks such as water scarcity, surface and underground water contamination and flooding (Fernini 2008). Locally, one can observe a high level of river pollution causing a heavy toll on public hygiene and sanitation, which virtually leads to a diffusing urban precariousness. If nothing is done, one could anticipate a dangerous level of increase in the surface and underground water contamination, interacting with climate change phenomena (Bouguerra 2010). Knowing that the plain is still the main water purveyor for the city, an aquatic and environmental degradation could be expected through water scarcity, which would subsequently lead to further water-related diseases. The municipality needs to look after regional measures, resulting from a common strategy adapted by the representatives in up- and down-stream areas, to either reduce or eliminate the internal and external dangerous causes (Aldana Valverde 2008). Under the circumstances, present urban projects should offer interesting opportunities as the current local scenario is far from being reassuring with regard to the natural hazards management or the hydroclimatic conditions.

METHODS AND TOOLS

Key indicators of urban vulnerability and resilience to water-related risks

Referring to the Hyogo protocol and recent scientific literature, the urban vulnerability has been defined as being exposure and intrinsic sensitivity, whilst resilience is adaptation and transformability, knowing that the urban ecosystem is composed of some social, economical, environmental and physical components (Walker et al. 2004; Aroua 2012; Boubacar undated). The vulnerability–resilience interface related to the present case study is designated by some relevant criteria and indicators as shown in Tables 1 and 2. Exposure refers to geomorphology, climate and hydrography related criteria, whereas sensitivity refers to urban design, socio-economy and technology related criteria. Adaptation refers to strategy, regulation and action program related criteria. Transformability refers to policy, laws and economy related criteria. Each criterion is defined by three specific indicators.

Table 1

Local vulnerability criteria and indicators over water-related risks

Vulnerability indicators
Exposure
Sensitivity
GeomorphologyClimateHydrographyUrban designSocio-economyTechnology
Topography, pedology, geology, planting shelter (IEG1) Temperature, humidity, winds (IEC1) Surface and underground components of local watershed (IEH1) Land use pattern (ISU1) Population growth, precariousness, (un)employment, poverty, risk perception (ISS1) Water supply, sewage, wastewater management (IST1) 
Geography of the global water cycle, landscape modifications (IEG2) Rainfall regime, extreme events, climate change (IEC2) River morphology (IEH2) Building and infrastructure state, comfort parameters, risk management (ISU2) Local economy (industry, trade) (ISS2) Solid waste management (IST2) 
Geological hazards (IEG3) Local climate-related pathologies (IEC3)  River hydrodynamic (IEH3) Technological risks (ISU3) Financial resources, local public budget, private investments (ISS3) Environment management (IST3) 
Vulnerability indicators
Exposure
Sensitivity
GeomorphologyClimateHydrographyUrban designSocio-economyTechnology
Topography, pedology, geology, planting shelter (IEG1) Temperature, humidity, winds (IEC1) Surface and underground components of local watershed (IEH1) Land use pattern (ISU1) Population growth, precariousness, (un)employment, poverty, risk perception (ISS1) Water supply, sewage, wastewater management (IST1) 
Geography of the global water cycle, landscape modifications (IEG2) Rainfall regime, extreme events, climate change (IEC2) River morphology (IEH2) Building and infrastructure state, comfort parameters, risk management (ISU2) Local economy (industry, trade) (ISS2) Solid waste management (IST2) 
Geological hazards (IEG3) Local climate-related pathologies (IEC3)  River hydrodynamic (IEH3) Technological risks (ISU3) Financial resources, local public budget, private investments (ISS3) Environment management (IST3) 
Table 2

Local resilience criteria and indicators over water-related risks

Resilience indicators
Adaptation
Transformability
StrategyRegulationAction programPolicyLawsEconomy
Water-related risks prevention (IAS1) Water resources management system, water-related prevention, urban planning (IAR1) Warning system (IAA1) Local sustainable development scheme (ITP1) Adaption measures integrated into the water resources scheme (ITL1) Local and international investment opportunities (ITE1) 
Stakeholders’ organizational system, decision making process (IAS2) Hazard study, environmental impact assessment (IAR2) Disaster-related decrees and decision making system (IAA2) Future urban projects (ITP2) Adaption measures integrated into the land use pattern (ITL2) Local material and financial means (ITE2) 
Prerogatives of the municipality, public offices (IAS3) Emergency organization, flood forecasting (IAR3) Emergency services, medical emergency services, public hygiene (IAA3) Sustainability of energy consumption strategy and technology development strategy. Use of scientific innovations (ITP3) Adaption measures integrated into the local development plan (ITL3) Human, environmental, technical and energetic capacities (ITE3) 
Resilience indicators
Adaptation
Transformability
StrategyRegulationAction programPolicyLawsEconomy
Water-related risks prevention (IAS1) Water resources management system, water-related prevention, urban planning (IAR1) Warning system (IAA1) Local sustainable development scheme (ITP1) Adaption measures integrated into the water resources scheme (ITL1) Local and international investment opportunities (ITE1) 
Stakeholders’ organizational system, decision making process (IAS2) Hazard study, environmental impact assessment (IAR2) Disaster-related decrees and decision making system (IAA2) Future urban projects (ITP2) Adaption measures integrated into the land use pattern (ITL2) Local material and financial means (ITE2) 
Prerogatives of the municipality, public offices (IAS3) Emergency organization, flood forecasting (IAR3) Emergency services, medical emergency services, public hygiene (IAA3) Sustainability of energy consumption strategy and technology development strategy. Use of scientific innovations (ITP3) Adaption measures integrated into the local development plan (ITL3) Human, environmental, technical and energetic capacities (ITE3) 

Multicriteria analysis

Local vulnerability and resilience indicators over water-related risks have been discussed and analyzed by the sustainable urbanism principles as much as by the current risk assessment methodologies (Perilhon & Laurent 2001). The multicriteria analysis based on a scoring system allows assessment of the indicators with regard to the difficulty of being locally controlled or implemented, and the contribution to the local vulnerability (Table 3) or the local implementation level (Table 4).

Table 3

Scoring system to assess the vulnerability indicators

ScoreDifficulty to be locally controlledContribution to the local vulnerability (aggravating effect)IndexIndicator's impact level
Low or null Negligible to null 2 to 3 Up to 0.37 Minor 
Intermediate. Requires protective measures Notable in the short run 4 to 5 0.37 > index ≤ 0.62 Notable 
High. Requires preventive measures High in the short or intermediate run 6 to 7 0.62 > index ≤ 0.87 Critical 
Very high or insurmountable Very high in the short, intermediate or long run 0.87 > index ≤ 01.00 Major 
ScoreDifficulty to be locally controlledContribution to the local vulnerability (aggravating effect)IndexIndicator's impact level
Low or null Negligible to null 2 to 3 Up to 0.37 Minor 
Intermediate. Requires protective measures Notable in the short run 4 to 5 0.37 > index ≤ 0.62 Notable 
High. Requires preventive measures High in the short or intermediate run 6 to 7 0.62 > index ≤ 0.87 Critical 
Very high or insurmountable Very high in the short, intermediate or long run 0.87 > index ≤ 01.00 Major 
Table 4

Scoring system to assess the resilience indicators

ScoreAbility to be locally implementedContribution to the local resilience (improving effect)IndexIndicator's impact level
No operative locally Negligible to null 2 to 3 Up to 0.37 Minor 
Operative in case of urgency Notable in the short run 4 to 5 0.37 > index ≤ 0.62 Notable 
With protective value High in the short or intermediate run 6 to 7 0.62 > index ≤ 0.87 Critical 
With preventive value Very high in the short, intermediate or long run 0.87 > index ≤ 01.00 Major 
ScoreAbility to be locally implementedContribution to the local resilience (improving effect)IndexIndicator's impact level
No operative locally Negligible to null 2 to 3 Up to 0.37 Minor 
Operative in case of urgency Notable in the short run 4 to 5 0.37 > index ≤ 0.62 Notable 
With protective value High in the short or intermediate run 6 to 7 0.62 > index ≤ 0.87 Critical 
With preventive value Very high in the short, intermediate or long run 0.87 > index ≤ 01.00 Major 

The difficulty to be locally controlled designates the risk level associated with the indicator considered as low (1 pt), or calling for protective measures against effects (2 pts), or preventive measures against causes (3 pts). When the indicator is difficult to be controlled (insurmountable difficulty), it obtains the highest score (4 pts). Conversely, the resilience scoring system aims to assess the comparative improving effect of the indicator and its ability to be locally implemented. Therefore if not operative (1 pt) or operative in the case of urgency (2 pts), the indicator may not have a relevant impact on the resilience level. Indicators with protective and preventive effect will obtain the highest scores (3 to 4 pts).

The contribution to the local vulnerability is assessed by different time horizons to manage necessary suitable measures and orientate the urban planning process. The cumulative sums are obtained from a classification process relating to several criteria implied in the water-related risks. Vulnerability and resilience criteria would obtain a score and an index, respectively, designating the vulnerability and resilience level as presented in Tables 58.

Table 5

Analysis of Exposure criteria and indicators

 Environmental criteria = Exposure
Geomorphology (G)
Climate (C)
Hydrography (H)
Indicator designationIEG1IEG2IEG3IEC1IEC2IEC3IEH1IEH2IEH3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the vulnerability 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific indicator's index 1.00 0.75 0.75 0.87 1.00 0.62 1.00 0.87 0.87 
Indicator's interest level 
Global criteria's score /24 20 20 22 
Synthetic criteria's index index G = 0.83 index C = 0.83 index H = 0.91 
Exposure's score /72 62 
Exposure's index IE 0.86 
 Environmental criteria = Exposure
Geomorphology (G)
Climate (C)
Hydrography (H)
Indicator designationIEG1IEG2IEG3IEC1IEC2IEC3IEH1IEH2IEH3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the vulnerability 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific indicator's index 1.00 0.75 0.75 0.87 1.00 0.62 1.00 0.87 0.87 
Indicator's interest level 
Global criteria's score /24 20 20 22 
Synthetic criteria's index index G = 0.83 index C = 0.83 index H = 0.91 
Exposure's score /72 62 
Exposure's index IE 0.86 
Table 6

Analysis of Sensitivity criteria and indicators

 Anthropological criteria = Sensitivity
Urban design (U)
Socio-economy (S)
Technology (T)
Indicator designationIFU1IFU2IFU3IFS1IFS2IFS3IFT1IFT2IFT3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the vulnerability 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific indicator's index 0.87 0.75 0.75 0.62 0.75 0.62 0.87 0.87 0.75 
Indicator's interest level 
Global criteria's score /24 19 16 20 
Synthetic criteria's index index U = 0.79 index SE = 0.66 index T = 0.83 
Sensitivity score /72 55 
Sensitivity index IS 0.76 
 Anthropological criteria = Sensitivity
Urban design (U)
Socio-economy (S)
Technology (T)
Indicator designationIFU1IFU2IFU3IFS1IFS2IFS3IFT1IFT2IFT3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the vulnerability 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific indicator's index 0.87 0.75 0.75 0.62 0.75 0.62 0.87 0.87 0.75 
Indicator's interest level 
Global criteria's score /24 19 16 20 
Synthetic criteria's index index U = 0.79 index SE = 0.66 index T = 0.83 
Sensitivity score /72 55 
Sensitivity index IS 0.76 
Table 7

Analysis of Adaptation criteria and indicators

 Structural criteria = Adaptation
Strategy (S)
Regulation (R)
Action plan (A)
Indicator designationIAS1IAS2IAS3IAR1IAR12IAR3IAA1IAA2IAA3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the resilience 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific index 0.25 0.50 0.50 0.25 0.25 0.50 0.50 0.25 0.37 
Indicator's interest level 
Global factor's score /24 10 
Synthetic index 0.41 0.33 0.37 
Adaptation score /72 27 
Adaptation index IA 0.37 
 Structural criteria = Adaptation
Strategy (S)
Regulation (R)
Action plan (A)
Indicator designationIAS1IAS2IAS3IAR1IAR12IAR3IAA1IAA2IAA3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the resilience 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific index 0.25 0.50 0.50 0.25 0.25 0.50 0.50 0.25 0.37 
Indicator's interest level 
Global factor's score /24 10 
Synthetic index 0.41 0.33 0.37 
Adaptation score /72 27 
Adaptation index IA 0.37 
Table 8

Analysis of Transformability criteria and indicators

 Functional criteria = Transformability
Policy (P)
Laws (L)
Economy (E)
Indicator designationITP1ITP2ITP3ITL1ITL2ITL3ITE1ITE2ITE3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the resilience 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific index 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 
Indicator's interest level 
Global factor's score /24 
Synthetic index 0.25 0.25 0.25 
Transformability score /72 18 
Transformability index IT 0.25 
 Functional criteria = Transformability
Policy (P)
Laws (L)
Economy (E)
Indicator designationITP1ITP2ITP3ITL1ITL2ITL3ITE1ITE2ITE3
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the difficulty to be controlled 
Indicator's score /4 With regard to the contribution to the resilience 
Global indicator's score /8 
Specific index 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 
Indicator's interest level 
Global factor's score /24 
Synthetic index 0.25 0.25 0.25 
Transformability score /72 18 
Transformability index IT 0.25 

For example, the indicator IEG2 score 4 pts with regard to the difficulty to be controlled and 2 pts with regard to the contribution to the vulnerability. Therefore its global score is the sum 4 + 2 = 6 pts and subsequently its index is 6/8 = 0.75. Furthermore, the geomorphology criteria score is the sum of specific representative indicator scores:8 + 6 + 6 = 20 pts. Yet its index becomes 20/24 = 0.83. The final exposure score is the cumulative sum of the three representative criteria scores (geomorphology + climate + hydrography) = 20 + 20 + 22 = 62/72. Then the exposure index becomes 0.86.

RESULTS

Local vulnerability assessment

The multicriteria analysis of vulnerability criteria and indicators shows that the global score obtained by the environmental criteria designating Exposure (62/72) is higher than the score obtained by those designating Sensitivity (55/72). These findings indicate that al-Harrash municipality seems to be comparatively more exposed than sensitive to the water-related risks identified locally.

Concerning Exposure, the high score should be mainly related to the difficulty of being controlled. That is the case for six indicators amongst nine (related to rainfall, geomorphology, hydrography) which obtained the highest score (8 pts/8) and are of major interest. The situation is somewhat reversed when concerned with the local sensitivity. The high score should be more related to the contribution level than to the difficulty of being controlled. It mainly affects the urban and technical factors.

In general, Exposure and Sensitivity indicators seem to be of critical importance, compared with three criteria (topography, rainfall and hydrosystem's components). With regard to the basin morphology and the irregular rainfall regime, the municipality suffers from water stagnancy. Also, the local groundwater table is quickly raised as the river's natural drainage network is quite insufficient to tackle flooding.

Finally, the vulnerability score should be due to greater difficulty in controlling the six Exposure indicators and four Sensitivity indicators. The critical level of the local vulnerability confirms the necessity of adopting some preventive measures through a strategic planning scheme that considers the technical and the urban planning criteria. Their cumulative impacts on hygiene and public health as well as comfort and security become quite evident. Yet, the current urban development scenario designates a growing sensitivity level and calls for a global strategy by undertaking different time horizons (Figure 3).
Figure 3

Vulnerability (Exposure and Sensitivity) level in al-Harrash municipality.

Figure 3

Vulnerability (Exposure and Sensitivity) level in al-Harrash municipality.

Regarding the contribution to the local vulnerability, Sensitivity indicators scored a higher cumulative sum of 33 pts/36, whilst Exposure indicators scored only 29 pts/36. However, considering the human impact on the natural environment, the contribution of the first group should reach the same rate if not more, since nature is continually impacted by human activities. That is the case where sea water is contaminated by the wastewater flows discharging through the underground table and the soil. This was also the case in the past when marshland was drained and the river's natural hydrodynamic disturbed. The temporal variability of the vulnerability level versus the contribution of each indicator related to Exposure or Sensitivity shows that two Exposure indicators and one Sensitivity indicator should undergo changes within a short time and then require regular supervision in the long term. In the above respect the water cycle geography and the landscape evolution (IEG1) in addition to the endemic pathologies (IEC3) come under Exposure, while technological risks (ISU3) come under Sensitivity. Indicators of slow progression require a continual control since an insidious modification should have a definitive impact on the local vulnerability. This is the case for Exposure indicators tied up with topography, planting shelter (IGE1), rainfall (IEC2), local hydrosystem components (IEH1) and fluvial morphology (IEH2, as well as the Sensitivity indicators tied up with land use (ISU1), building state (ISU2), sewage and water-providing networks (IST1) and lastly management of solid wastes (IST2).

Local resilience assessment

The assessment of resilience criteria and indicators shows that, even at low performance, Adaptation indicators obtain a score (24/72) higher than Transformability score (18/72). Meanwhile, such comparative temporary advantage is more due to the emergency system elaborated at the departmental scale than to any local forecasting system. Indeed, Adaptation criteria and indicators designating the water hazard mitigation capacity are not under the control of the municipality, which has only an executing role during the crisis.

It is locally observed that this is a preventive without any real impact on the local public hygiene. Four Adaptation indicators (IAS2, IAS3, IAR3 and IAA1) which obtain the score of half (4/8) are tied up with the strategy, the adjustment tools and the action plan. This comparative advantage should be due more to the efficiency of the emergency plan as well as to their notable contribution in the short term to the local resilience. Actually, the regular division of tasks between different stakeholders (IAS2 and IAS3) and the existence of an emergency plan may guarantee to the municipality an efficient support and help during the crisis but not a permanent security (Figure 4).
Figure 4

Resilience (Adaptation ability and Transformability) level in al-Harrash municipality.

Figure 4

Resilience (Adaptation ability and Transformability) level in al-Harrash municipality.

The performance of Transformability indicators tied up with the functional criteria seems to be locally quasi-null since the functional criteria are difficult to be implemented, in addition to material unavailability, weak finance or lack of human resources, or malpractices associated with the narrow prerogative of the municipality. The sustainable policy adopted by the state (ITP1) seems to have no tangible impact on the local resilience (MATE 2010). In contrast, the regular tools are associated with the sustainable options (ITR1, ITR2 and ITR3) which are not lined up with the management strategy of water-related risks or the urban and economic development principles. Neither the national nor the international financial investment opportunities (ITE1 and ITE2) seem to be focused on developing a larger project without any direct profit for the municipality. Whilst Adaptation indicators present a variable impact level (five have a significant to insignificant level and four have a major impact level), Transformability indicators are quite contained within the insignificant level. The low level of the local resilience can be related to the no implementation of four adaptation indicators (IAS1, IAR1, IAR2 and IAA2). This is quite likely because of the great difficulty in the ineffective implementation (Benblidia 2011). The water-related risks management does not focus on the mitigation of the effects, either with protective or adaptive preventive measures. In addition, the in situ observation confirms the very low Transformability index and attests to the weakness of any sustainable strategy related to public health and security.

Yet, the regular material and financial tools only partially explain the low capacity resilience as the educational level of the staff also needs to be updated with regard to the current challenges and governance approaches. Concerning the adaptation, the only acting indicators (IAA1 and IAA2) seem to be operative just for a very good reason since they designate an emergency plan. Indeed the stakeholders' organizing system (IAS2 and IAS3) is defined by the law, but seems to be handicapped because of the close dependency of the municipality vis-à-vis the superior state authority (the department). Related tools also seem to be working only under an emergency case. Obviously, the local resilience score does not distinguish from the datum line axis if not sustained by the emergency plans and the assistance conceded by the department. That gives the Adaptation parameters (27 pts/72) a small comparative advantage over the Transformability score (18/72). The generalization of some processes amalgamating the cooperation between water basin representatives and public sector authorities and municipalities in addition to the civil society participation could improve the resilience level in the immediate and the long run.

CONCLUSION

Al-Harrash municipality shows a critical level of vulnerability and a minor level of resilience. Referring to the datum line related to the strategic risks (Figure 5) (adapted from Marmuse & Montaigne (1989)), present vulnerability and resilience index fall under a quite failing zone, which may have been aggravated by some vulnerability indicators (the vulnerability index is near the maximum threshold = 0.81) and very weak resilience (the resilience index is near the minimum threshold = 0.29).
Figure 5

Strategic risk zone in al-Harrash municipality (Aroua 2009).

Figure 5

Strategic risk zone in al-Harrash municipality (Aroua 2009).

The results indicate that the municipality exploits its natural resources without caring for their conservation or renewal. Based on the information provided by the water public office, although a renewed and cleaned sewage network is now provided, the municipality is not able to deal with an extreme rainfall event. As such, in the case of a long dirty period, the stocking capacities would not be sufficient with regard to the local needs. Considering the specific nature of the challenges as revealed by the water-related risks analysis it is necessary to take up flexible adaptation measures both in the local and the global levels. Indeed, the threat is closely tied up with hazardous climatic phenomena; however, the social and political vulnerability seems more relevant. Concerning the outcome of this contribution, water-sensitive urban design may be one of the best practices that should be implemented in order to prevent the water-related risks within the urban environment (www.waterbydesign.com.au).

REFERENCES

REFERENCES
Aldana Valverde
A. L.
2008
Understanding the hydrological cycle: key to sustainable development
.
WMO Bulletin
57
(
3
),
170
172
.
Aroua
N.
2009
Typologie des risques stratégiques, de l'entreprise à l’écosystème urbain (Strategic risks. From companies to urban ecosystem). Séminaire International: La ville et les risques urbains, Acteurs, pratiques urbaines, gestion et systèmes de prévention
.
Université de Constantine
,
Constantine, Algeria
,
5–6 May 2009, www.lue-lab.com
.
Aroua
N.
2012
Facteurs de vulnérabilité et capacité de résilience face aux risques hydroclimatiques dans la commune algéroise d'El-Harrach (Vulnerability Factors and Resilience Capacity to Hydroclimatic Risks. Al-Harrash Municipality Case Study). PhD thesis, Ecole polytechnique d'architecture et d'urbanisme d'Alger, Algiers, Algeria
.
Benblidia
M.
2011
L'efficience d'utilisation de l'eau et approche économique. Etude nationale, Algérie (Water Use Efficacy over the Economic Approach. Algeria Case Study). Plan Bleu, Centre d'Activités Régionales PNUE-PAM, Siphia Antipolis, France
.
Boubacar
F.
undated Inventaire des outils pour évaluer la vulnérabilité et les stratégies d'adaptation (List of Tools for Vulnerability and Adapting Strategies Evaluation). Environnement et Développement du Tiers-Monde (ENDA), Dakar, Senegal
.
Bouguerra
K.
2010
Les changements climatiques et leur impact sur les ressources en eau en Algérie (Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources in Algeria). Assises Nationales de l'Eau, Agence Nationale des Ressources Hydriques, Ministère des Ressources en Eau, Algeria
.
Fernini
A.
2008
Evaluation de la vulnérabilité urbaine face aux risques majeurs naturels. Simulation partielle sur un quartier témoin Algérois (Assessing Urban Vulnerability to Major Natural Hazards. Partial Simulation on an Algiers Neighbourhood). Ecole Polytechnique d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (EPAU) d'Alger, Algiers, Algeria
.
Marmuse
C.
Montaigne
X.
1989
Management du risque (Risk Management). Ed Vuibert Entreprise, Paris, France
.
MATE (Ministere De L'amenagement Du Territoire Et De L'environnement)
2010
Schéma National d'Aménagement du Territoire 2030 (Territory Strategy Plan 2030). MATE, Algiers, Algeria
.
Perilhon
P.
Laurent
A.
2001
La méthode MADS-MOSAR : Un outil général pour l'analyse des risques (The MADS-MOSAR method: A general tool for risk analysis). Colloque Risques industriels et risques urbains : Vers une même approch, Lyon, France, 3–4 December
.
RGPH (Recensement Général de la Population et de l'Habitat)
2008
Walker
B.
Holling
C. S.
Carpenter
S. R.
Kinzig
A.
2004
Resilience, adaptability and transformability on socio-ecological systems
.
Ecology and Society
9
(
2
),
art. 5, 9 pp
.