Cooperation in action

Oasis agriculture in Morocco

Sustainable water management so as to avoid rural exodus due to climate change

Joint planning workshop with a local women's association on sustainable water management in the oasis

The climate in the region around the Tidrhest Oasis near Ouarzazate is already characterised by drought and low, very irregular rainfall. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculates that, by the end of the century, rainfall in the region will have declined even further.

The lack of available water is gradually depriving local farmers of the means to make a living. Since the 1990s, about 70 per cent of the local villagers have moved away. Nevertheless, just recently the number of young people wanting to return to their village and start farming in the oasis again has been growing. That is why the BMZ, together with two engineering bureaus, is supporting a village initiative for sustainable water management under the umbrella of the Ministry’s programme.

Using a combination of traditional techniques and innovative rainwater management and soil protection measures, project workers and villagers have come together to repair irrigation canals, set up micro watersheds and build water tanks. Furthermore, micro dams have been built in the dried-up river valleys so as to reduce soil erosion and improve water storage. The local population is receiving targeted training and is being actively included in the planning, operation and maintenance of the protective infrastructure. This is helping the village to compensate for existing fluctuations in the availability of water and for the greater fluctuations that are predicted as a result of climate change, so that the community will be able to get through up to two years of drought.

With the committed involvement of the local villagers, their own efforts, and a small amount of external expertise and support, the oasis and its roughly 1,000 inhabitants have been given new economic prospects. The overall availability of water has been increased, making harvests more secure. Harvests and the processing of agricultural products are secured, thereby creating income and jobs.

Over the next few years, adapting to the consequences of climate change and improving life prospects in remote rural regions will be important for Morocco. That is why Morocco has made alternative water management strategies a key pillar in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

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