Water and land conflict fieldwork – Luis Miguel Silva-Novoa Sánchez

This fieldwork was conducted between February 17 and March 18 of year 2020 in the cities of Ouarzazate, Zagora, and the oases of Ternata, Fezouata, M’hamid, and K’taoua. These oases are located in the downstream part of the Middle Drâa Valley. During this fieldwork the focus was mainly on collecting data about the traditional institutions mediating access to water in the region. These institutions regulate the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure transporting water from the Drâa River to the farms, as well as the function of the complex water right system that has been in place for centuries. The fieldwork was also useful to collect data on how the increased salinization of water and soil, as well as the combined effects of drought and increased water demand are are leading to changes in the institutional arrangements of water management and new water use practices. The use of new infrastructure, such as boreholes, polyethylene pipes to transport water from wells to farms, pumps powered by solar panels, and drip-irrigation systems are interesting examples of these new practices. The fieldwork also allowed me to identify key water related conflicts currently occurring in the valley. Unfortunately, the outbreak of Covid-19 forced us to interrupt the fieldwork and postpone the data collection from the field until year 2021.