Iztat Water Project – Morocco

Iztat, Khoukhate, Caid Itzer, Circle Midelt, Province de Khenifra, Morocco

Community Description
Iztat is one of the small “douars” in the village of Khoukhate, a village that relies almost exclusively on agriculture and sheep herding for its survival. Khoukhate is located in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco in the shadow of the Eastern High Atlas Mountains.

While the surrounding area is very dry, Khoukhate’s location in a valley between three plateaus and fed by seven natural springs renders the village exceptionally lush. This project will take place in the agricultural area just outside of the village.

The entire village of Khoukhate contains approximately 1400 residents, and according to the most recent Ministry of Health statistics available, 471 individuals reside in Iztat in 62 different households.

The community of Iztat is tightly knit and the majority of residents are related to each other through blood or marriage, with virtually no immigration. Families have lived in the same houses and farmed the same land for generations, and the village feels far removed from the fast-developing cities of Morocco.

Electricity was installed just seven years ago, and there is still no running water, paved road, or health services.

The Khoukhate Water and Sanitation Project – Morocco was previously successfully completed in the same area by Peace Corps Volunteer Cynthia Berning

Iztat is a community supported almost entirely by subsistence agriculture fed by the valley’s natural springs. These springs have been channeled into a complex system of irrigation ditches that carry the water from its sources to the fields surrounding the village. Except for a few weeks out of the year, the area sees very little rain, so these irrigation channels are vital for the cultivation of all crops.

One of the most important irrigation channels taps a spring that puts out approximately 180,000 liters per day at the source. In the past several years, the channel has become more and more susceptible to erosion, filling with run-off dirt and rocks every time it rains.

Currently, only an estimated 75,000 liters survive the journey through the channel to arrive at the fields, barely enough to cultivate the approximately 8.5 hectares that it feeds.

This eroded dirt blocks the flow of this abundant water sometimes for weeks until the men of the village have time to organize and work together to re-dig the ditch, allowing water to once again flow to their fields instead of disappearing into the ground.

During the summer of 2010, the channel was blocked on six different occasions, requiring a group of village men to devote 18 days of labor to cleaning out the ditch.

Project Description
This project is to improve the irrigation channel to provide for the uninterrupted irrigation of the fields. This will be accomplished by channeling the water through pipes laid in the channel.

The project will be conducted by the Iztat Community Development Association.

The problem will be solved permanently with 80 meters of piping and two days of work by a group of twelve men who represent the families who have the largest fields in the area that is fed by this particular spring.

A piped irrigation ditch will more efficiently channel the water to the fields, preventing much of the loss of water to the ground that occurs in a natural, unimproved channel. An increase in the quantity of water that travels through the channel will allow the farmers to begin to cultivate higher-value crops.

Apples, peaches, plums and tomatoes grow well in the region, but require more water than is currently available. They sell for much higher prices than the corn, wheat and carrots that are currently grown in these fields.

In addition, an addition 2-3 hectares of currently uncultivated land will be able to support agriculture when more of the water from this spring is captured and delivered efficiently to these fields.

Project funds will be used to purchase the necessary 5-inch diameter pipe, glue, cement, and sand, and to pay a modest amount for transportation of materials.

Project Impact
This project will benefit 184 people, consisting of the 34 farmers who have fields fed by this irrigation ditch plus the 150 wives, children and other family members residing in their households.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Cynthia Berning

This simple project vastly improves the capability of these farmers to consistently grow high-quality crops. It is a permanent solution to a problem that previously plagued the community, consumed valuable labor, and impacted upon the economic well-being of the farmers.

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has now been fully funded through the generosity of The Soneva SLOW LIFE Trust as a part of their Clean Water Projects

We encourage others to continue to donate using the Donate button below, and we will notify Cynthia of your donation. Additional funds will be used to fund the next project by the PCV and/or other projects in the country of service.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.