Sour grapes: multiple groundwater enclosures in Morocco's Saïss region

L. Bossenbroek, M. Kuper, M.Z. Zwarteveen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

While driving to the douar 1 Ait Ali in the agricultural plain of the Saïss in Morocco, we always passed by a fallow land plot of approximately 10 hectares. We passed this plot without noticing much, until the day we spotted a Syrian tube-well driller with a checked red scarf on his head and his drilling rig on the land. He attracted our attention and his presence, as well as the newly erected fence surrounding the plot, triggered many questions: Was this land recently bought? Who bought it? Why had the land been fenced? What would the Syrian tube-well digger do if he did not find any water? What if he would find water? We decided to pull over and to interview him. He told us that someone living in the nearby city of Meknes had recently bought the land. He showed us a little device with threads of different colours, which had helped him to locate the exact spot with the highest probability of finding water. When we asked him what would happen if he did not find any water he answered, ‘the owner will resell this plot, and he will most likely buy another one and will give it another chance. But if there is water he will plant fruit trees and build a packing station’. Indeed, over the two years that followed we observed how the recently enclosed land gradually changed. Fruit trees were planted, a drip irrigation system was installed, and a packing station was built.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDrip Irrigation for Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationUntold Stories of Efficiency, innovation and Development
EditorsJean-Philippe Venot, Kuper Marcel, Zwarteveen Margreet
Place of PublicationOxon
PublisherEarthscan/Routledge
Chapter6
Pages105-121
ISBN (Electronic)9781315537146
ISBN (Print)9781138687073
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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