The Ain Timguenay area (Morocco) aquifer, mainly recharged by direct rainfall upon it, belongs to the Sebou river basin. Recent extension of irrigated area results in an overabstraction of water. However, since currently there is almost no data, only very rough estimations of the aquifer status can be done, hindering the enabling of corrective actions.
Intensive tree farming (mainly plump and apple) has developed over the past two decades, thanks to the development of groundwater use. The area encompasses approximately 150 farmers.
Location and extension
The Ain Timguenay area is part of the Sebou River basin but the aquifer is not connected with other groundwater resources.
- Relatively shallow aquifer (average depth 50 m, maximum depth around 100 m).
- Confirmed overuse patterns during the last 5 years due to an increase in irrigated areas. In recent years, decreasing groundwater levels during irrigation periods has had effects on irrigation practices and yields.
- Very limited knowledge on groundwater resources and uses and no permanent measurement device.
- Presence of highly diverse farms: from around 100 small-scale ones, most of whom being members of a cooperative, to a few large-scale farms owned by investors that farm over 300 ha each.
- Farmers are tree farming and they pay high importance to groundwater availability in the long terms
- The majority of farmers are members of a cooperative that successfully supports farmers in storing collected apples in a refregirating unit, drying plumps and organising marketing.
- Cooperative members have experience in interacting with public actors.
- The Catchment Management Agency aims to implement groundwater management contracts at the local scale, in line with national policies.
The Catchment Management Agency has stopped delivering new pumping authorisations in the area, but has limited power to enforce this decision.
- Definition of a joint agreement between research team, the cooperative, the local municipality, Department of Agriculture, Catchment Management Agency.
- Discussion with these actors of the type of information system that can be designed as part of eGroundwater project, including citizen science (eg, farmers measuring groundwater level), and specifications for a cellphone app.
- Enhanced knowledge on groundwater uses and resources based on testing this information systems.
- Participatory design of scenarios of groundwater governance with actors that could lead to the definition of a formal groundwater management contract.
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