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Water and the Environment at the Heart of Local and Regional Development of Morocco’s Oasis Territories;Methodology for the Preservation and Development of Morocco’s Khettaras
[ H Benqlilou ] - International Institute for Water and Sanitation,Office National de l’Eau Potable, (National Office of Drinking Water) Treatment Plant
Due to their geographical situations and hydro geological contexts, the oases of southern Morocco are marked by harsh aridity and scarcity of water resources. However, the ancestral populations have shown a major form of adaptation to the constraints of aridity of the environment, by developing knowledge and heuristic hydro agricultural techniques which are original, complex and efficient such as Khettaras. The study carried out based on the results of an assessment of the situation of oasis territories in southern Morocco through addressing the socio-economic, environmental and cultural aspects by referring to the DPSIR methodology developed for the evaluation of the millennium ecosystems, served to illustrate that, paradoxically, the development of individual farming based on the intensification of pumping in the objective of agricultural development modern agriculture as in the Western world leads to chaotic competition among farmers through the multiplication of the digging of wells and boreholes in the search for water at great depths without any knowledge of the hydro geological data, groundwater flow and types of exploited soils resulting in a degradation of agricultural land through erosion, salinization and silting.The Water Crisis in the oases appears therefore more and more by the failures of Khettaras and other traditional systems of exploitation and management of water resources. The transfer of know-how and expertise of khtatria M'alam and workers specialized in the construction, cleaning and maintenance of Khettaras is not transmitted to future generations, due to their lack of interest in the traditional low income crafts relating to the oases. The conservation and preservation of the know-how and expertise regarding traditional techniques of mobilization and management of water resources is a major problem.The interest of the formalization of this knowledge and the development of these traditional systems is of great importance in safeguarding the national oasis heritage whose survival is closely linked to water. The study carried out has enabled to develop a methodology for the formalization of ancestral heuristic knowledge and the development of these traditional systems by their combination with modern techniques. The deployment of this methodology locally will ensure sustainable development at the level of fragile oasis ecosystems. This study illustrates that the development of an integrated and holistic approach to mobilize and manage resources is at the heart of local and regional development of the oasis territories.
Fragile oasis ecosystems, Khettaras, DPSIR methodology, preservation of ancestral know-how in the mobilization of water resource, combination of modern and ancestral techniques