Techniques of water and soil conservation in Morocco: Overview and perspectives
The natural fragility of the environment (relief with steep slopes, aggressive rain, fragile substrates) associated with human fragility (poverty, insecurity) lead to the development and the extension of soil degradation. Water erosion concerns all Moroccan mountains and affects land productivity. This has prompted farmers to design and implement land management techniques, which optimize water use and promote rainwater harvesting. Land management institutions in these areas have also carried out soil protection and restoration (DRS) and soil and water conservation (SWC) projects for the same purposes. This study aims to inventory most of soil and water conservation techniques in Morocco through a literature review. It tracks a set of techniques adopted by farmers to remedy the lack of agricultural land, to enhance land conservation and improve its productivity. Many traditional soil and water conservation systems have been described and classified according to local water balance, topography, operation and objectives: impluvium runoff management, water infiltration increase, diversion of excess-runoff and runoff energy dissipation. Perhaps there exist still other installations not quoted here. Their effectiveness depends on multiple factors, which vary in time and space such as the climatic conditions (dryness) and socio-economic (emigration of youth).
Key words: Water erosion, Soil and water conservation, Traditional water and soil management techniques, Land management, Water harvesting, Morocco