Institutional and Social Innovations in Irrigation Mediterranean Management
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What stakes of development for the systems of khettara

ID : 644
Theme : Social Water Management

  • Author : El FAIZ Mohammed , RUF Thierry
  • Year : 2006
  • Language : French
  • Type : Article - paper
  • Source : WATARID Conference of Urumchi
  • File size : 1818 ko (1.82 Mo)

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In each side of the High Atlas in Morocco, various human groups have established hundred of water mines (khettaras) that are quite similar to the qanats of Iran or the Foggaras of Argelia. Ancient writers have noted the ingenuity of the devices. But, since 30 years, these systems face more difficulties and disappear. An inventory is necessary to understand what are the rural zones where exist still an important group of khettaras. The communication concerns with the contrasted situations of the Haouz of Marrakech, where the palm grove was irrigated mainly by a thousand of these underground tunnels, and the province of Tafilalet where half thousand have been recently listed. Around Marrakech City, the collapse of the system is fast acting: the fields of catchments of the tunnels are overexploited through wells and pumps that dry out the underground resources. The rural zones which were irrigated by the khettaras are included in the city and loss their linkages with the old schemes, water resources and solidarity. Some rare khettaras still work with symbolic flows. How is it possible to maintain this heritage and to integrate it in the development in the suburbs? In Tafilalet province, the situation seems more favourable with 50% of the khettaras still “alive”. The villages that own several of them are like islands of prosperity, while the rest of the oasis knows a critical hydraulic crisis. However, the modernization of irrigation and the increase of wells are signals that announce some changes. How is it possible to maintain the old schemes and to allow farmers groups to innovate without destroying what is responsible of the prosperity of an adapted system to arid conditions?

 Related resources :

 Social Water Management

What stakes of development for the systems of khettara (Article - paper)
Video - Interview of ISIIMM project Morocco's national coordinator, Mohamed El Faiz (UCAM), Valencia, Novembre 2005 (Video)
Report of the International Meeting on Governance & social water management - 8-11 July 2002 (Link)
Participatory Groundwater Management Trainig Kit - 8 modules (Link)
Social Water Management, concepts, methods and applications (Book)
What is Social Water Management ? (Document)

EURO-MEDITERRANEAN Regional Programme for Local Water Management
ME8/AIDCO/2001/0515/59763-P 016
Agropolis, France