Local Watershed Compensation – Aquasis Solutions
The Region of Souss Massa Draa near Agadir is positioned as the agricultural powerhouse of Morocco, in which 40% of the nation’s workforce is employed in agriculture. However, water is a scarce resource in the region, and a limiting factor in the region’s development of its agricultural sector. Groundwater is used excessively, and much of it is “exported” abroad in the form of cultivated fruits and vegetables intended for foreign consumers. The soil fertility is poor, and there is a lack of sustainable soil and water management techniques.
Aquasis Solutions has been tasked with finding a solution to these issues on behalf of Coop Switzerland’s Sustainability Programme and in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Aquasis was founded in 2011 by technical water experts and has been involved in helping the Agri-food industry, governments and communities to understand the value of natural capital. Through Coop’s Sustainability Fund, Aquasis has quantified the impact of Coop’s importation of fruits and vegetables from the Souss watershed and identified a number of agricultural water interventions to increase the supply of water available to local farmers while promoting more efficient use of this water.
In the village of Arazane in the Souss Massa Draa region, Aquasis has partnered with the local government and community members to identify sustainable solutions to simultaneously address sustainability concerns and the economic needs of producers. This includes constructing a weir and water retention basin to collect rainwater and recharge groundwater during the two month rainy season, and installing drip irrigation technology on 50 hectares of farmland to optimize the application of existing water resources. In addition to this infrastructure, Aquasis will also train these local farmers to replicate best practice based on similar interventions elsewhere in the Souss watershed.
During the piloting phase, the project is anticipated to make 275,000 cubic metres of water available to 35 farmers in Arazane for local agricultural production. The revenue from WBCs shall be used to maintain this infrastructure over time, while also facilitating an expansion of the activities to other communities in need of proper water management.
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