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Water 2012, 4(4), 959-982; doi:10.3390/w4040959

Climate-Driven or Human-Induced: Indicating Severe Water Scarcity in the Moulouya River Basin (Morocco)

1
Department of Geography and Geology, University of Greifswald, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Str.16, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany
2
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg A31, D-14412 Potsdam, Germany
3
Department of Geo- and Environmental Sciences, University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2012 / Revised: 15 November 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 3 December 2012
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Abstract

Many agriculture-based economies are increasingly under stress from climate change and socio-economic pressures. The excessive exploitation of natural resources still represents the standard procedure to achieve socio-economic development. In the area of the Moulouya river basin, Morocco, natural water availability represents a key resource for all economic activities. Agriculture represents the most important sector, and frequently occurring water deficits are aggravated by climate change. On the basis of historical trends taken from CRU TS 2.1, this paper analyses the impact of climate change on the per capita water availability under inclusion of population trends. The Climatic Water Balance (CWB) shows a significant decrease for the winter period, causing adverse effects for the main agricultural season. Further, moisture losses due to increasing evapotranspiration rates indicate problems for the annual water budget and groundwater recharge. The per capita blue water availability falls below a minimum threshold of 500 m3 per year, denoting a high regional vulnerability to increasing water scarcity assuming a no-response scenario. Regional development focusing on the water-intense sectors of agriculture and tourism appears to be at risk. Institutional capacities and policies need to address the problem, and the prompt implementation of innovative water production and efficiency measures is recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: North Africa; Moulouya river basin; climate change; population growth; regional development; water availability; water management; water scarcity North Africa; Moulouya river basin; climate change; population growth; regional development; water availability; water management; water scarcity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tekken, V.; Kropp, J.P. Climate-Driven or Human-Induced: Indicating Severe Water Scarcity in the Moulouya River Basin (Morocco). Water 2012, 4, 959-982.

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