The Environment and Agriculture
by Ryan Powell, Ait Yaddou, Morocco
Recently, men from my village and from the Provincial Agricultural Department have reinforced the walls that contain the natural spring. They've also placed stone walls perpendicular to the spring to deflect water from the river that runs alongside. When heavy rains occur, the river suddenly floods and carries large sediment loads that used to fill in the spring with dirt.
by Jennifer Bohman, Souss Massa National Park, Morocco
In my community, the water situation is greatly advanced by the presence of the well and piping system that delivers drinkable water to every home. This saves the women in the village endless hours a week that they do not have, gathering water from the well. Besides the salt water entering the wells due to the proximity to the ocean, the problem is drought. Morocco is in the middle of a drought that has lasted for years. The nation's dams are currently only 50 perent filled. Last year at this time the dams were filled to 75 percent of their capacity. Water shortage is a problem that seems only to be growing with increasing desertification, deforestation, and population growth.
Farmers are highly cognizant of the water shortage, as some of the fields depend on rainfall for water. The fields closer to the river have irrigation to help them, but these, too, are affected when the water level drops in the river.
by Erin Olson, Agadir L'henna, Morocco
Technology has both improved and damaged water quality in Tagmoute. For the most part modernization has improved water quality. Wells are all lined and most have a bib or a concrete border on the ground around the well to prevent seepage of contaminants into the well. Technology has also made it possible to treat wells with bleach and iodine. In some villages more modern methods have made it easier to retrieve water, such as a tap system, or electric pump, which eliminates the need to use a pulley system. An even more modern washer/wheel method has made drawing water from the well less laborious. However, these modern techniques have not reached Tagmoute and the washer/wheel pump cannot be used to make drawing water easier in Tagmoute because the wells are too deep. So as of 1999, villagers rely on old pulley systems that are quite laborious. The introduction of plastic has made for some lighter water containers that are more hygienic. Unfortunately the increase in garbage caused by packaging and the lack of a suitable garbage site have led villagers to discard trash into the dried up riverbed. Garbage is also found throughout the oasis, which will obviously harm the local vegetation and animals.
by Jessica Seem, Zaouia Village, Morocco
Deforestation has led to increased erosion and many springs have dried up as a result.
by Beth Giebus, Tetouan and Agadir, Morocco
Not too long ago, the Moroccan government built several dams along the Oued Sous (Agadir). Hundreds of small, seasonal springs flow down from the Anti-Atlas Mountains into the Oued Sous. While the construction of dams supports industrial agriculture (citrus and tomato exports) in the region, it has disturbed the ecological equilibrium of Sous-Massa's Natural Reserve. Since less water is able to reach its wetlands, the size of the reserve has decreased dramatically. This lack of free-flowing water affects wildlife in the region. Fewer migratory birds, for example, linger at the reserve, and fewer still elect it as their final destination.