Morocco is facing a sharp decrease in rainfall over the past 30 years and the share of water per capita has been divided by 5 since the 1960s, said an agricultural researcher who warns of the impact on agricultural production. But there are solutions…
Speaking in the context of a workshop organized by OCP’s Al Moutmir Open Innovation Lab, Dr. Kamal Aberkani from the Multidisciplinary Faculty of Nador (Mohammed Premier University), drew up a bitter observation for rainfall in Morocco and its impact on the agriculture and the share of water per capita.
While scientists are warning about global warming, its repercussions are already being felt around the world and in Morocco too. The problem of global warming estimated at 1.5° Celsius more, affects the whole world.
In Morocco over the past 30 years, we have noted an increase of +0.42° Celsius per decade on average since 1990, a value above the average trend on all continents, the professor said.
At the same time, a significant decline in precipitation was observed. It is estimated -20% on annual average between 1960 and 2018. The decrease is particularly marked in winter, a period during which precipitation should be the most abundant, with -24% between December and February, against -14% on the entire rainy season from October to March.
The problem of the decline in rainfall is added in parallel with the rise in temperatures, affirms the academic who notes that it is between the months of December and February that the rainfall is decisive. It is this phenomenon that Morocco is facing this year 2022. There has been no rainfall since September.
“On the other hand, as can be seen, the months of March and April experience more precipitation. There is erratic rainfall and farmers need to be aware of this reality”, said Kamal Aberkani. ” This year, there is a malfunction in the terrestrial water cycle, the lack of precipitation has caused that even the water tables have seen their level drop, surface waters as well”he added.
From 1980 to 2016, the average trend shows that precipitation is trending downward. “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but the next few years the weakening of precipitation will continue”said the professor.
By 2050 2060, the rains will no longer have the same trends in the world, experts estimate. If strict and concrete measures are not taken now to combat global warming, forecasts estimate a temperature increase of 5°C and a continued decrease in precipitation.
This will not only impact agriculture and therefore the food security of populations, but also water consumption. As such, the academic gave the figures for the share of water for each person per cubic meter.
In 1960 in Morocco, there were 2560 cubic meters per person and today we are at 500 cubic meters. “This means that water resources are dwindling, and the water supply in Morocco is also declining”he continued, indicating that it is in the face of these problems that we see the importance of State strategies for water.
According to Kamal Aberkani, there are a few possible solutions to explore to counterbalance this climatic reality and manage water consumption. “In my opinion, the different institutions must work together to strengthen water management. Its management is no longer the prerogative of a single institution and must be a strategic priority for the country and even in terms of scientific research.“, he said during his speech.
Among the research alternatives that seem interesting, he cited the genetic improvement of plants with varieties resistant to drought, and agricultural zoning, where we will have a strategy for the distribution of crops according to the regions.
He also believes that it is necessary to review the types of plantations by agricultural zone, and avoid crops that require a lot of water in regions where there is not enough rainfall.
A final avenue raised relates to the use of digital technologies with software and applications connected to the plantations which will offer intelligent management of water and fertilizer resources.“Today only large farmers use Smart Sensors while 70% of farmers in Morocco have small plots of land”he pointed out, pleading for a generalization of this technology to all farmers.