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Climate-driven or human-induced: indicating severe water scarcity in the Moulouya river basin (Morocco)

Many agriculture-based economies are increasingly under stress from climate change and socio-economic pressures. In the Moulouya river basin, Morocco, natural water availability is a key resource for all economic activities and frequently occurring water deficits aggravated by climate change threaten many livelihoods dependent on agricultural production. This paper analyses the impact of climate change on the per capita water availability under inclusion of population trends. The Climatic Water Balance (CWB) shows a significant decrease for the winter period, causing adverse effects for the main agricultural season. The paper finds that regional development focusing on the water-intense sectors of agriculture and tourism appears to be especially at risk. Institutional capacities and policies need to address this problem, and the prompt implementation of innovative water production and efficiency measures is recommended.