Water resources management and Ecohydrology under global changes: a pilot study in a Biosphere Reserve from southern Morocco – Prof. Yacoubi Khebiza Mohammed

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Water resources management and Ecohydrology under global changes: a pilot study in a Biosphere Reserve from southern Morocco – Prof. Yacoubi Khebiza Mohammed

Yacoubi-Khebiza Mohmmed,
Semlalia Faculty of Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University
Marrakech, Morocco

The Tafilalt and Draa Oases, part of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, are located in the Presaharan of Morocco. This site comprises a series of oases and reservoir dams. The rainfall and water availability in southern Atlas Mountain is either subject to extratropical cyclone activity over the Northern Atlantic – connected with the Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – during winter or to orographically forced convective rainfall events during spring, autumn and – Due to the aridity of the area, the population, the infrastructure and the husbandry are concentrated around rivers and oases. The ephemeral flows of the rivers force people to use groundwater (GW) to provide for water demand. Consequently, the GW is of significant importance regarding the water management of this region.

Ecohydrology is more than just hydrology and ecology combined. It is functional to its best only, if science, engineering and construction, public administration and political decision assist each other in an integrated scheme and on a common scale. The ecohydrology concept provides new perspectives on the control and regulation of water cycling and nutrients by integrating hydrological and biotic processes at the catchment scale.

 

This report aims to evaluate the implications of the need to adapt to climate change for water resource policy and regulation across Moroccan oases, assess the strengths and weaknesses of current policies and regulations. We address the issue of how to develop credible indicators of vulnerability to climate change that can be used to guide the development of adaptation policies.

The Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework was applied to ensure the establishment of the relationship between policy and economic issues and the most important issues in GW development and management. This methodology is used to further identify and specify GW indicators and enables identification of indicators that are relevant directly to the GW situation and indirectly to other challenge areas of the WWAP.

The storylines describe the following main thematic issues: main economic development, development in the agricultural sector, development of political framework conditions, demographic development / life quality and environment / natural resources. We defined response indicators in order to be able to assess the problem cluster. Response indicators are figures that portray the system’s behavior in an integrated way. The assessment of scenarios can be done in a qualitative way and in a quantitative way. We also needed to define the concrete thematic topics of analysis, for example the processes or process chains that had to be analyzed: which processes directly influence the response indicators, which processes do only indirectly influence them? The thematic topics can be described via status indicators that characterize the state of the system (“state indicators”).

Oases, Climate Change, Adaptation, sustainable use, catchment’s scale, indicators

Project supported by the AfriCLP program

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