March 25, 2023

With the start of the new agricultural season, the Citizens’ Advisory Committee in the Tatin region, which includes a group of associations, asked the government and the governor of the region to take a decision to prevent the planting of water-reducing crops, especially the cultivation of red watermelons (Ad-Dallah).

The aforementioned authorities demanded that the Minister of Equipment and Water Resources fulfill his promise to end “unfair farming in the Tata region” which he expressed in statements he made last March, without what he promised found a way to be implemented on the ground. already.

Minister of Equipment and Water Resources Nizar Baraka said at a seminar in Rabat on March 3 that the government will take a set of measures to address the delay in the implementation of the National Water Strategy for 2009-2030, including stopping watermelon cultivation in Tata.

Collectives in Tata believe that water-depleting crops such as watermelons pose a great danger to the population, given the ever-dwindling water resources in the region.

Mubarak Ohraf, President of the Ifos Forum for Democracy and Human Rights, confirmed that areas under water-depleting crops have expanded significantly from 2015 to the present as a number of farmers from Sousse have shifted their investments to the Tata region and set up large agricultural estates, resulting in to successive years of drought to the depletion of a number of wells and streams near farmland.

The same spokesman said in a statement to Hespress that the flow of a number of shallow springs and the level of streams have declined significantly as a result of the depletion of crops, which have become scarce in a number of cities near the river. villages such as Eger Izaken, Tigan, Aka, Sidi Abdullah Omgar, Famelhassan and Tozonin… and changed…

Ohraf concludes that he is right in saying that surface water sources and streams have returned to recovery, and water levels in some wells have returned to rising just after the end of the red melon harvesting season, when irrigation of agricultural land ceased, indicating that the inhabitants of the area and small farmers “are sounding the alarm about continuing planting these crops with successive dry years.”

According to the same human rights activist, in each of the large farmsteads where watermelons are grown, there are at least four or five districts, “we are facing serious depletion of the water channel.”

The civil advisory committee in the Tata region warned that the watershed in the region “is in a deplorable state due to depletion and lack of water as a result of the expansion and spread of red melon cultivation”, emphasizing that these cultivations are not compatible with the middle of the arid oases due to drought. from which he is already suffering.

Civil society groups advocating for Tata’s right to water are pushing the region’s authorities to follow the lead of the Essaouira province in preventing the cultivation of gourds on irrigated agricultural land.

On April 23, the governor of Essaouira province issued a decree banning the cultivation of melons and water-intensive products on the province’s irrigated agricultural land due to the reported shortage of water resources in order to “rationalize and rationalize the exploitation of these resources.”

Unlicensed wells and water intakes are one of the main causes of groundwater depletion, especially since most of these water sources are operated without a license.

Official data released by the Ministry of Equipment and Water Resources indicates that the total number of water wells and water wells counted during the inventory work in the country was 258,931 wells and water wells. However, the number of licensed water points does not exceed 22,519, and 236,412 are unlicensed.

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