New publication on water supply and demand in Morocco

Johannsen, IM; Hengst, JC; Goll, A; Hollermann, B; Diekkruger, B (2016): Future of Water Supply and Demand in the Middle Draa Valley, Morocco, under Climate and Land Use Change. WATER, 8 (8):10.3390/w8080313

Abstract: Regions of scarce fresh water resources, such as the Middle East and North Africa are facing great challenges already today, and even more in the future, due to climatic and socioeconomic changes. The Middle Draa valley in Morocco is one of many semi-arid to arid mountainous areas struggling with increasing water scarcity threatening self-sufficient husbandry. In order to maintain people's livelihoods water management needs to be adapted. The Water Evaluation and Planning System (WEAP) software has been widely used to examine complex water systems in the water resource planning sector all around the world and proved to be a helpful asset to show the various interactions of water supply and demand. This paper presents the application of WEAP on the Middle Draa valley's water demand and supply, including several socioeconomic and land use scenarios under one basic climate change scenario. The climate scenario shows a significant decrease in available water resources up to 2029 while all socioeconomic scenarios show an increase in water demand. In years of droughts groundwater is used for irrigation, leading to increasingly depleted aquifers. The aquifers are recharged by percolation losses from irrigation and by river bed infiltration the latter of which is stronger in the northern oases than in the southern oases due to water withdrawal rules. A drastic reduction of irrigated agricultural area is the only solution to guarantee sustainable water use.