EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sustainability issues of a Mediterranean semiarid irrigated piedmont inferred frommulti-decadal trends of water resources and land use

Youness Ouassanouan1, Younes Fakir1,2, Vincent Simonneaux3, Mohamed Hakim Kharrou4, Houssne Bouimouass5, and Abdelghani Chehbouni1,3,4
Youness Ouassanouan et al.
  • 1Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Center for Remote Sensing Applications (CRSA), Morocco (
  • 2Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences–Semlalia, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech 40001, Morocco
  • 3Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CESBIO), Université de Toulouse (UMR CNES / CNRS / INRAE / IRD / UPS), 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 4International Water Research Institute (IWRI), Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), 43150 Ben Guerir, Morocco
  • 5Hydrogeology Laboratory, UMR EMMAH, University of Avignon, Avignon 84000, France

Piedmonts around the Mediterranean are important hydro-agro-systems bridging between the mountains (upstream) where streamflow is generated, and the adjacent plains (downstream) where water is used. In Morocco, the piedmonts of the High-Atlas Mountains host secular irrigation channels (seguia) that divert the streamflow for irrigating a traditional agriculture since hundreds of years. These traditional hydro-agro-systems might be threatened by the effects of global change that requires in-depth study to identify the main causes and propose better sustainable management. The present study was carried out in the semi-arid piedmont of the High-Atlas mountains. A detailed analysis of hydro-climatological data was performed between 1965 and 2018 together with associated agricultural trends over the period 1984-2020. Statistical tests (Mann-Kendall and Pettitt) were used to assess whether there were significant trends or not in the long-term evolution of water resources. The findings revealed a significant decrease of the surface water and groundwater resource. The SPI meteorological drought index delineated three main droughts during 1982-1986, 1998-2008 and 2013-2017. Paradoxically, the scarcity and decrease trends in water resources are associated with an agricultural change from seasonal crops (cereals) to perennial crops (trees). The subsequent growing agricultural water demand exacerbates the water shortage and worsen the groundwater depletion.

How to cite: Ouassanouan, Y., Fakir, Y., Simonneaux, V., Kharrou, M. H., Bouimouass, H., and Chehbouni, A.: Sustainability issues of a Mediterranean semiarid irrigated piedmont inferred frommulti-decadal trends of water resources and land use, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4725,, 2022.


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