DDD Conference

Prof. Lhoussaine Bouchaou

Groundwater under Global Changes in Drylands: Lesson from Morocco Cases

University Ibn Zohr, Morocco

Morocco’s drylands cover over 90% of the land area. Several activities and ecosystems suffer greatly and are impacted by the water crisis particularly in the southern part of Morocco with less than 200 mm/y of rain and recurrent droughts. The multiple studies and surveys indicate a high depletion and quality degradation of groundwater considered as a strategic resource to maintain the main activities (e.g., agriculture, tourism, pastoralism), livelihood and security food. Faced with this situation, various development organizations aim for the recovery of local traditional conservation and participatory water management practices. The shifting to economic irrigation techniques in modern agricultural sectors was the main strategy to save water. However, in other sectors, some traditional techniques and heritage cultures remain a topical means for water and ecosystems management. Many lessons are learned from these drylands regarding the water scarcity and environmental shocks resilience. In Pastoralism, many strategies were used to adapt to the predominant water deficit (e.g., forms of lifestyles, herd size, and complementary activities). Rainwater harvesting as well as hydraulic facilities, storage and tank services for isolated populations are being implemented at several points. Alternative solutions like desalination and treated wastewater reuse were developed to balance water deficit mainly for agriculture and drinking. The analysis suggests that to achieve the resilience and adaptations against climate change, agricultural policies should shift from maximizing agricultural output to the consideration of the synergy between ecosystems, the promotion of the nexus food water energy and the concrete involvement of all concerned stakeholders and local communities.

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