Projet Eco-ksar Amguid Tamentit-Adrar
In desertic area, life is only possible if there is water.
There civilization developed based on a man-made artificial water management system: Foggara, Quanat, Khottara, Keriz, Aflaj…
Water management and water transportation systems depended on tunneling technology, well-digging and land surveying.
Over time, because of their cultural, social and economic importance, these traditional water supply systems attracted lot of attention to maintain and manage them.
During the last 20 years, the Sahara oasis heritage deteriorated severely.
The decrease of water resources was progressively and rapidly due to :
In some areas, between 1985/1995, 535 wells were drilled for irrigation of large areas, because of “Accession to land ownership” law 83/18!
Ancient knowhow of water harvesting and water management was lost because of the rapid changes in the social, cultural and economic context
Present state of the Ksar and of the ancient Date palm oasis
There are different types of Foggaras. To rehabilitate them, each one required a specific approach.
Eco-Ksar Amguid: Aim of the pilot project
The concrete experiences drawn from the eco-ksar Amguid model aims to demonstrate that it is possible:
-to rehabilitate the Foggara with an adaptation and injection of appropriate technologies,
-to restore the fertility and productivity of an oasis, with their cultural, social and economic benefits for its people.
AMGUID: description of the area
- Situated near Tamentit, in an area of 1600 hectares, covered by 4 foggaras (re-identify by M. Benhassane Abdelkrim)
- The Ksar, in ruins, abandoned 30 years ago. 40 family houses, 480 inhabitants living there, one or two century ago.
- The 1st foggara, named “Gharghara”: the oldest, length, 2763 m, with 116 wells (probably much longer).
- The 2nd foggara “El Boure”, length,1154 m with 158 wells.
- The 3rd “El Ghaba”, length, 625 m, with 70 wells, the smallest; it is entirely sandy.
- The 4th, the foggara “Amguid”, length, 1690 m with 190 wells, the most recent.
Rehabilitation of the Amguid foggara
Today, 50% of this foggara has been rehabilitated, the wells blocked by stones and sand, having been cleared.
- the first year, this foggara produced running water at a rate of 6 liters/second.
Remark: in a traditional system of irrigation, this water would have mobilized the work of 20 people to empty the basins every day.
Before the rehabilitation area needs also to be prepared
of methods being used:
identification of shafts by looking at the vegetation cover (photo 1), opening of the shaft identified (photo 2)
Building shaft protection walls
A winch powered by an engine mounted on a metal bracket divide the working time at least by ten and allows, to extract sand ten times more than manually.
Introducing new rehabilitation, technics
- Use of innovative technics specifically designed to allow maintenance work to be carried out safely; light equipment and mechanical means, available and manageable locally;
- Experimentation of mechanical lifters and track digging tools to ease the hard work done traditionally.
- Introduction of new technics and protective measures for work safety: use of protective cages against the risk of collapse, along with other usual light safety equipment.
- introduction of solar energy for pumping water from the basin,
Enlarging the scope of water use
The rehabilitation on Amguid Foggara will be pursued with demonstratives actions to ensure that this type of hydraulic systems lasts while:
1- extracting the water at the lowest possible cost
2- increasing the value of its use as much as possible, focusing on the improvement:
- of the productivity of the hydraulic works
- of the efficiency of the crop and livestock water based systems.
The 1st part of the project is documented in the web sites:
Lessons from this pilot project and other
similar operations (restoration foreseen: El Bourre foggara)
1- On the restoration of abandoned drainage galleries: all abandoned galleries are not galleries to abandon!
In many case, their rehabilitation potential is higher than common sense would think. Sometimes, the slope has become inadequate making the galleries ineffective as its flows falls below the level of plots to be irrigated. In these cases, they could be successfully rehabilitated by creating pools suitable for crop irrigation methods. The pool could be used by way of drips or with the help of an inexpensive solar-powered lifts.
On reduction of
-drainage gallery consists of two sections, a drainage area for collecting water and an area to the flow of water, subject to losses by infiltration.
- to identify the dividing point between the 2 areas, can be achieve with inexpensive measurement tools and adequate measures could be taken.
3 - On innovative irrigation techniques
The best water economy is the result of the best mix of complementary techniques.
4 - On the interest of crop biodiversity:
5 - On the interest of an integrated farming systems
- to Promote the creation of experimental farm, built with local materials, affordable, to demonstrate the interest of providing the animals with good environmental conditions to improve their productivity.
- the system of feeding and driving the livestock experimented and explained to the farmer
- to promote the integrations of the local biodiversity into the farms
One or several workshops will focus on encouraging the fellahin to create, manage and develop their herds.
6- Drainage and ultimate recovery of water
- Demonstration plots (outlined above) will be covered by a drainage system to remove the salts towards the sebkha.
- This drainage water will be valued for the last time before its final disposal, to breed fish resistant to salt as Tilapia.
7- On people participation and respect on the ecosystem:
- if agricultural activities decline, hydraulic system decline as well, as part of the same ecosystem.
- any approach tending to separate them destroy them.
- On the contrary, methods promoting participation of people belonging to the farming system in the rehabilitation of foggaras is the key element of success
For centuries, local communities have developed a solid traditional knowledge which remain a precious model to fight aridity.
In the Sahara desert, the oasis model, created by local people, is a self sufficient ecosystem to preserve and develop and could be replicated
under similar harsh conditions .
New technologies could contribute to the development of such a model with 2 conditions