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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Not a Drop of Water to the Sea': The Colonial Origins of Morocco's Present Irrigation Programme
Author:Swearingen, Will D.
Periodical:Maghreb Review
Geographic term:Morocco
Subjects:agricultural projects
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Abstract:In response to a devastating two-year drought (1935-1937), the rising of the nationalist movement, and the conclusion of Morocco's first real census in 1936, French administrators decided in 1938 to undertake the complete development of the protectorate's water resources. They developed a highly ambitious and idealistic irrigation plan. Roughly one million hectares were to be put under perennial irrigation by the year 2000 and 'not a drop' of Morocco's water would flow unused into the sea. According to the plan, water would be developed not only for exportoriented colonial agriculture but - under strictly monitored conditions - it would also be delivered to dispossessed Moroccans. The native farmer would grow labour -intensive crops for the nation's domestic economy in large new irrigated areas. Although the 1938 plan remained largely unfulfilled during protectorate times, it has served as the base of all subsequent irrigation development. Notes.