A hydrological–economic model for sustainable groundwater use in sparse-data drylands: Application to the Amtoudi Oasis in southern Morocco, northern Sahara

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Title: A hydrological–economic model for sustainable groundwater use in sparse-data drylands: Application to the Amtoudi Oasis in southern Morocco, northern Sahara
Authors: Alcalá, Francisco J. | Martínez-Valderrama, Jaime | Robles Marín, Pedro | Guerrera, Francesco | Martín-Martín, Manuel | Raffaelli, Giuliana | Tejera de León, Julián | Asebriy, Lahcen
Research Group/s: Evolución Geodinámica de la Cordillera Bética Oriental y de la Plataforma Marina de Alicante | Ingeniería del Terreno y sus Estructuras (InTerEs)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y del Medio Ambiente | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ingeniería Civil
Keywords: Oasis | Groundwater degradation | Economics | Tourism | Sustainability | Southern Morocco
Knowledge Area: Geodinámica Interna | Ingeniería del Terreno
Issue Date: 15-Dec-2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Science of The Total Environment. 2015, 537: 309-322. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.062
Abstract: A hydrological–economic model is introduced to describe the dynamics of groundwater-dependent economics (agriculture and tourism) for sustainable use in sparse-data drylands. The Amtoudi Oasis, a remote area in southern Morocco, in the northern Sahara attractive for tourism and with evidence of groundwater degradation, was chosen to show the model operation. Governing system variables were identified and put into action through System Dynamics (SD) modeling causal diagrams to program basic formulations into a model having two modules coupled by the nexus ‘pumping’: (1) the hydrological module represents the net groundwater balance (G) dynamics; and (2) the economic module reproduces the variation in the consumers of water, both the population and tourists. The model was operated under similar influx of tourists and different scenarios of water availability, such as the wet 2009–2010 and the average 2010–2011 hydrological years. The rise in international tourism is identified as the main driving force reducing emigration and introducing new social habits in the population, in particular concerning water consumption. Urban water allotment (PU) was doubled for less than a 100-inhabitant net increase in recent decades. The water allocation for agriculture (PI), the largest consumer of water, had remained constant for decades. Despite that the 2-year monitoring period is not long enough to draw long-term conclusions, groundwater imbalance was reflected by net aquifer recharge (R) less than PI + PU (G < 0) in the average year 2010–2011, with net lateral inflow from adjacent Cambrian formations being the largest recharge component. R is expected to be much less than PI + PU in recurrent dry spells. Some low-technology actions are tentatively proposed to mitigate groundwater degradation, such as: wastewater capture, treatment, and reuse for irrigation; storm-water harvesting for irrigation; and active maintenance of the irrigation system to improve its efficiency.
Sponsor: This research was supported by the Research Project PRIN-2003 from University of Urbino, the Portuguese FCT Research Project PTDC/CLI/72585/2006, the Spanish CICYT Research Projects CGL2011-30153-CO2-02 and CGL2012-32169, and the Research Project VIGROB-053 from University of Alicante.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/53211
ISSN: 0048-9697 (Print) | 1879-1026 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.062
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.062
Appears in Collections:INV - GEODIN - Artículos de Revistas
INV - INTERES - Artículos de Revistas
INV - DRYLAB - Artículos de Revistas

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