Morocco - Tensift

Project Overview

Tensift, Morocco - The Haouz Plain

The semi-arid agricultural plain of the Haouz, in the Tensift Watershed in Morocco is the most important area in terms of potential water savings, and 85% of the mobilized water is used for irrigation. It includes traditional and modern irrigation, flood and drip irrigation, with water coming either from dams, river diversion or groundwater abstraction.  The vegetation is composed of tree plantations (mainly olive groves and oranges) and annual crops (cereals, market gardening) or multi (alfalfa) frequently grown in sub-stratum of trees. The extent and location of the annual crops vary from one year to another, depending on water availability. In the semi-arid agricultural plain, the challenge is to understand the functioning of water surfaces (mainly vertical water flow), in conjunction with plant production, following a series of questions of increasing complexity: Estimation of the actual evapotranspiration? Partition between soil evaporation and transpiration covered? Assessment of water needs of crops? Evaluation of volumes of irrigation water in discerning their origin? Evaluation of irrigation methods used?

Project Objectives

  • Crop identification and Crop Area Estimation: Landcover maps at medium scale resolution from NDVI time series using either a thresholding algorithm, or an off-the-shelf algorithm for supervised classifications.
  • Crop Condition/Stress: Methodological developments for the estimation and monitoring of surface states with multi-sensor, multi-spectral remote sensing of surfaces.
  • Evapotranspiration from infrared thermal and visible data (FAO-56, energy budget approach).
  • Soil Moisture: High resolution soil moisture, by disaggregation of SMOS satellite measurements based on thermal and visible data (Merlin et al., 2009, 2012, 2013).
  • Yield Prediction and Forecasting: A PhD thesis is working on the forecasting of wheat yield at the plot level using empirical relations. At the regional level, through statistical analysis of different types of optical and micro-wave remote sensing, combined with climate data, different dynamic prediction models of vegetation cover and cereal yields have been proposed (Jarlan et al. , 2013,  Mangiarotti et al., 2013)
  • Others: Two main research areas are considered. The first is to better understand the integrated hydrological functioning across the watershed and to develop tools (digital platform modeling fed by satellite and ground observation) to predict the evolution of resources. The first focus is developed with strong scientific dynamics around the following points: (1) Modeling and analysis of the functioning of the main water flow (recharging process water, surface flows and particularly evapotranspiration, energy balance of the snow cover). In this context, we compare various approaches of evapotranspiration estimates with the level of complexity and the application for irrigation management. (2) Integrated modeling including conceptual and mechanistic modeling. (3) Satellite data assimilation into surface models. The second area focuses on the regional dimension of the problem of environmental hydro resources in the Mediterranean, and the need to produce indicators at this level in particular exploiting the remote sensing data. This area is developed around the following: (1) Methodological developments for the estimation and monitoring of surface states with multi-sensor, multi-spectral remote sensing of surfaces and (2) the characterization of indicators for better understanding of hydrological functioning. The work deals with predictability and the modeling of inter-annual variability.
©2015 Joint Experiment for Crop Assessment and Monitoring