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 I was focus mainly in 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 functioning of the complex water right system that have been in place during centuries. The fieldwork was also useful to collect data on how the increasing salinization of water and soil, as well as the combined effects of drought and increasing water demand are leading to the inhabitants of the Drâa Valley to adapt their traditional water management institutions, as well as the everyday practices of water use, to the new conditions of resources availability. 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.