Example of erosion due to flash flood, Vallée Ourika, Jan31 2019

A regional challenge

The ARIMA project complements Moroccan national efforts with a specific focus on the Marrakech-Safi Region.

The region of Marrakech-Safi is one of the twelve regions of Morocco. Formed in September 2015 by merging the old region of Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz with the provinces of Safi and Youssoufia in Doukkala-Abda region, it is considered as the third richest region of Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat.

This region is very diversified and includes a part of the High Atlas, the highest mountain of North Africa, called the Roof of the World, which peak called djebel Toubkal goes as high as 4.167 m. There are eternal snows in Marrakech-Safi. However, Marrakech itself has a semi-arid Mediterranean climate and the lands in the North are quasi deserts. There is in addition to that a 400 km long coast facing the Atlantic ocean with beaches.

The Marrakech-Safi region is particularly exposed and vulnerable to droughts, floods, and erosion, which result in severe damage in urban and rural areas. However, it lacks a specifically designed regional solution.

A national concern

In recent years, Morocco has made significant investments in DRR initiatives. The country developed state of the art analytical tools such as the Morocco Natural Hazards Probabilistic Risk Assessment (MnhPRA). This macro-level GIS-based catastrophe risk modeling measures Morocco’s overall exposure to natural disasters and guides the country’s emerging national risk management and resilience strategy.

Furthermore, Morocco is developing a national policy – in line with the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – to reduce risks and mitigate adverse consequences for its people, environment, agriculture, and cultural heritage.

Indeed, future climate trends in Morocco include rising temperatures of 1–1.5°C by 2050 and a decrease in average precipitation by 10–20 percent across the country. This would lead to an increase in droughts, which would impact the economy including agriculture.  In addition, rising sea levels pose a high risk of increased coastal erosion.

  • Station Hydrologique Aghbalou Sur Oued, Vallée Ourika, Jan31 2019

  • Natural risks are also a threat to local economy, in particular agriculture (farmers nearby a flood site, Vallée Ourika, Jan31 2019)

  • Flood scale at the Station Hydrologique Aghbalou Sur Oued to monitor water level, Vallée Ourika, Jan31 2019