Years of drought have parched the landscape of Morocco • Earth.com

Years of drought have parched the landscape of Morocco

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features drought-stricken landscapes around Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. 

“Several years of drought have left a mark on Morocco. Satellite observations of the North African country show that croplands and wildlands that are normally green and lush in the rainy winter months are instead parched and brown, and reservoirs that once brimmed with water are nearly empty,” said NASA.

According to a report from Reuters, Moroccan officials have called the situation “disastrous.” They noted that about 70 percent less rain has fallen in the past few months compared to an average year. 

“The prolonged lack of adequate rainfall has caused reservoirs to drop to critically low levels. Al Massira Dam, Morocco’s second-largest reservoir and a key supply of water for farmers near Casablanca, dropped as low as 1 to 2 percent of its capacity in February 2024,” said NASA.

“Collectively, Morocco’s reservoirs were 25 percent full in mid-February compared to 32 percent for the same period last year. The reservoir was nearly full between 2009 and 2015, but its water levels began plunging in 2016 and have remained low since.”

The use of dam water for irrigation has been banned in some key farming areas. Agriculture minister Mohamed Sadiki said the “violent drought” has forced a reduction in the dam-irrigated area to 400,000 hectares from 750,000 hectares before the dry spell.

The image was captured on February 19, 2024 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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