The Seybouse River Basin, with a total area of 6,471 km², is located in the northern part of Algeria. The Seybouse River (240 km length) constitutes an important water source, mainly used for the irrigation of large agricultural areas, which extend from the Guelma region up to Annaba city.
The basin extends over 68 municipalities, located in seven wilayas (administrative divisions), and faces important domestic and industrial pollution, mostly originating from city industries situated along the two river banks: the annual industrial discharge is approximately equal to 4.5 million m³; of this amount, 3 million m³ corresponds to used oils from various sources. River pollution is also partly due to the lack of sewage treatment plants, as in several cases domestic wastewater is discharged directly into the Seybousse river without prior treatment.
The most vulnerable areas are those where industrial activities are concentrated, i.e. Meboudja, Bouchegouf and Guelma. In these regions, aquifer pollution is also an issue, as run-off originating from the Edough and Gelaat Bou Sbaa mountains, carrying high loads of contaminants, infiltrates groundwater bodies. This in turn poses serious threats on human health, both direct (children often play on the river banks) and indirect (many farmers abstract water directly from the river for irrigation purposes, and soil productivity is also affected). Furthermore, the river ecosystem is also at risk, as flora and fauna are seriously threatened.