Chasing water: Diverging farmers' strategies to cope with the groundwater crisis in the coastal Chaouia region in Morocco

Abstract : In many developing countries where agricultural groundwater use led to aquifer overexploitation, direct control over farmers' groundwater use is difficult to implement. This calls for the set up, at least in the short term, of indirect policies, whose efficiency will depend on farmers' strategies. The different strategies adopted by farmers to cope with groundwater crisis are analyzed in the Chaouia Region in Morocco, where intensive agricultural groundwater use for the past fifty years has led to seawater intrusion in the seashore part and falling groundwater levels further inland. First, strategies may be based on 'chasing' groundwater, by deepening boreholes, bringing fresh water in sufficient quantity to the farms or renting fields in areas with sufficient fresh groundwater, so as to maintain a water-intensive farming system. Second, strategies, that may be designated as adaptive, entail adapting the farming system to the water available on-farm given existing hydraulic infrastructures and may be considered as more sustainable with regards to water resources. Most of analysed strategies were not in the same time economically and environmentally sustainable. Possible policies to achieve economically and environmentally sustainable activities differ not only in the difficulty to implement them, but also in the types of farms likely to benefit from them.
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Adnane Berahmani, Nicolas Faysse, Mostafa Errahj, Mohamed Gafsi. Chasing water: Diverging farmers' strategies to cope with the groundwater crisis in the coastal Chaouia region in Morocco. 2011. ⟨cirad-00872500⟩

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