Issues addressed

Ksar Ait Messaoud is a small oasis that extends over 23 hectares as a part of a series of oases spreading over 80 km along the North-South axe joining Timimoun –Adrar -Reggane. Ksar Ait Messaoud oasis is fed by three surrounding foggaras. Its population counts 645 inhabitants. Their main source of revenue was initially exclusively agricultural, but due to the gradual abandoning of agriculture caused by water shortage, farmers are deserting their fields and seeking refuge in a more reliable source. In fact, the flow rate of foggoras is gradually decreasing due to several factors, namely the extension of irrigated surfaces, lack of maintenance, and the intensive use of the Intercalary Continental aquifer. For instance, years ago, there were more than 4000 foggaras, a number that decreased over the years to only three foggaras.

Today, a good number of foggaras have completely dried up while others witness a significant decline of their flow rate (the average flow rate decreased from over 5 l/s to 1l/s). Such weak flow is incapable of ensuring the survival of the oasis system in the region. The rapid increase of the number of shallow wells constructed in the eastern part of the oasis have greatly contributed to accelerate the water use pace and resulted in the depletion of the three available foggaras.

Ksar Ait Messaoud oasis suffers a severe problem of water deficiency, a problem that tends to exacerbate with time.  As a matter of fact, the foggaras and surface wells in Ait Messaoud oasis are no longer capable of fulfilling the needs of the oasis for irrigation water. Irrigated perimeters are consequently shrinking and farmers started to abandon their own farming systems and seek refuge in other activities to ensure their living.