Draa Valley Case Study

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GeographyMr PennyGiles Exley
Thursday, 15 November 2012
Draa River Valley, Morocco, LEDC Case Study
Altitude: 4071m ­
Relief: The Draa River
rises in the Atlas
Mountains and drains
to the arid lowlands of
South East Morocco
and the Sahara Desert.
Aridity: Aridity is
very high and
increases as the river
flows away from the
mountains. The
catchment for the
Draa River is one of
the most arid in the
world. The aridity is
high in the southeast
of the country where the river goes partly due to the rain shadow effect of the High Atlas but also
the permanent sub-tropical high pressure over the Sahara.
Rainfall: Downstream of Ouarzazate is barely 100mm.
Temperature: The summer temperature can be 40 -45°c.
Resources and Opportunities for Socio-economic Development
In the Draa River catchment area 43000ha of land is irrigation, from which 80% of the water
used comes from the Draa and its tributaries.
Water is diverted from the river via canals to irrigate land of the valley floor and terraces on
higher land.
225000 people are able to live in the Draa Valley mainly subsistence farmers thanks to the
Subsistence farmers cultivate fruits, dates, barley and vegetables on very smallholdings.
Some crops are treated as a polyculture and are grown under tree crops to prevent water
Tourism has started in the area and around 8% of the local population are employed in the
tourism industry. There are jobs in hotels, restaurants, shops and filling stations in larger
places such as Ouarzazate and Zagora.
Some people work as tourist guides and sell handicrafts to foreign tourists.
The area is popular with tourists for its hot dry climate, access to the Sahara desert and
various cultural features like mud brick architecture.

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GeographyMr PennyGiles Exley
There is even The Atlas Film Corporation who work in the area because of the excellent light
conditions and the almost guaranteed good weather with cheap labour costs.
Challenges Faced by the Area
During the last 15 years precipitation has decreased in the High Atlas. This means there is less
water for an ever-increasing demand. Water demand for irrigation and tourism has around a 3%
increase each year.…read more


Imogen Greig

Brilliant, thanks Theresa!

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