Case Study #51
#51: Berrechid aquifer
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Berrechid plain saw the arrival of tenants from outside the region, whose financial capital unlocked the rapid growth of an irrigated agriculture (potatoes, carrots, fodder maize). Traditional wells (mostly aimed at supplying drinking water to livestock) were replaced by deeper tubewells (around 40-60 m deep). As a consequence, the aquifer level has been lowered by around 10 m on average, while groundwater is now heavily salted and contaminated by nitrates. A River Basin Agency (ABH in French) was set up in 2000 and has been trying since the mid 2000s to design an aquifer contract (now labelled participative management contract, CGP in French) while trying to organize farmers into specific groundwater users associations. However, these efforts have not yet borne fruit.