Today we can read in the news that many regions in the world suffer from water shortage. The competition for it is fierce between urban areas (drinking water and industry) and rural areas (agriculture). So far, water management authorities in Africa have largely focused on monitoring and managing water availability and supply, while little is known about water use and consumption.
This is especially true for irrigated agriculture, which consumes about 80 % of the available water resources. To control and regulate water abstraction from aquifers and canals water management authorities have far too few staff to cover the extent of irrigated land. They also face limited bargaining power for the allocation of water resources between different economic sectors. And they rely on extensive field surveys to collect data on water consumption. These surveys are time-consuming, very costly, patchy due to limited accessibility and only provide information at a specific point in time.
eLEAF and its partners offer an affordable solution to fill these data gaps and provide continuous information on water consumption based on open geospatial data from WaPOR in the online GEO-REP dashboard. This way water authorities can better monitor and manage water withdrawals and respond to requests from farmers and local governments. In the dashboard complex geo data ranging from catchment to field level are translated into tangible information presented as maps, graphs, tables and solid arguments for technically reliable decision-making, reporting and advocacy. It makes them more credible and lets them better anticipate future problems. The GEO-REP dashboard can be trusted because the WaPOR data it uses has been tested by a broad international community and provides reliable information on water use at a spatial scale that is not available in other datasets.
The Moroccan case of the Tensift Basin
The Tensift basin located to the north of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco has an area of 16,000 km2. It has a population of about 2.8 million inhabitants, including the large urban centre of Marrakech. It is characterized by an important socio-economic dynamic, linked to agricultural, tourist and agro-industrial activities. With an average global water potential of around 860 Mm³/year, including an inter-basin water transfer, the basin’s water resources are limited and marked by irregularity in time and space. The demand for water, evaluated at 1,187 Mm3/year, exceeds the available surface water resources mobilized, as well as the renewable potential of the aquifer, which shows an average annual deficit of -111 Mm3/year. This deficit is strongly influenced by the hydrologic conditions of the year and worsens in dry years. For the Tensift Basin, global climate models applied on a regional scale indicate an increase in average temperature of 0.7°C and a decrease in rainfall of about 37 mm/year by 2030. Nonetheless, extreme phenomena (droughts and floods) will become increasingly frequent. The situation is likely to worsen in the future, as the ever-growing demand for water is confronted with the decreasing availability of water resources.
The water board (ABHT) and irrigation office (ORMVAH) want to improve their monitoring on water consumption as a crucial component of the water balance and their collection of and information on irrigation systems. With our partner Resing we have adapted the GEO-REP dashboard to the user needs. Making use of our basic service package using WaPOR level 1 and 2 data, but also our supplementary package with 10-meter resolution data for field scale analysis. One example of using WaPOR data service: for ORMVAH it is difficult to locate the exceedings of water consumption from canals or groundwater, because of costly fieldwork. WaPOR Level 2 dekadal timeseries data show that the authorized surface water dotage is exceeded by an average volume of 1925m3/ha/year (2009-2021). ORMVAH can compare this with authorized wells and interpret if it is illegal and direct the water police to the right location. This improves the equal and inclusive access to water in the Tensift Basin.
The development of our services is partially made possible by The Inclusive Green Growth Department (IGG) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Netherlands Space Office (NSO)
What is your case?
We are looking for cooperation with consulting firms in WaPOR countries to set up our GEO-REP dashboard based on open WaPOR data. Please get in contact: Corné van der Sande