Irrigation development and adaptation of irrigated agriculture to climate change in semi-arid Morocco
Providing sustainable irrigation to improve the climate resilience of subsistence oasis farming and larger-scale date and olive agriculture within the Boudnib Valley.
The Boudnib Valley has a high vulnerability to increased temperatures and water scarcity as the effects of climate change. The local population relies on oasis-based agriculture along the Guir wadi, which is an intermittent river severely affected by several years of drought and irregularity. Small-scale oasis farming has created a poverty trap that forces many to migrate in search of employment.
Recently, however, new investments have changed the situation on the ground by expanding agriculture beyond the oasis areas. These relatively large scale farms produce quality dates and olives through the exploitation of deep groundwater by pumping.
Ensuring the long-term preservation of underground water supplies is essential to protect both oasis subsistence farming and the larger-scale date and olive farms from climate change risks. This project will create a connecting irrigation system to the Kaddoussa Dam that is currently being built upstream of the Guir wadi, ensuring downstream agricultural sustainability by providing surface water for farming. This will improve the situation of oasis agriculture and alleviate the pressure on the deep groundwater. The project will build the climate-resilience of oasis communities, and set up cross-cutting sustainability measures such as technical assistance, groundwater preservation, and environmental and social impacts management.
The project has an estimated lifespan of 5 years.
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