Renouveau d'un système irrigué communautaire suite au déverrouillage de l'accès aux eaux souterraines profondes. Cas du territoire oasien de Sidi Okba dans le Sahara algérien

Abstract : The future of community-managed irrigation systems is increasingly questioned with the arrival of modern technologies of groundwater exploitation, more conducive to crop intensification and to individual initiatives. In this thesis, we develop a methodology to investigate how irrigation communities seize ‘modernity’ to, on the one hand, renew their community-managed irrigation system by adapting the infrastructure and the irrigation institutions, and on the other hand, to improve their living standards and social status by seizing the economic opportunities to develop a market agriculture on new irrigated spaces. A more nuanced reading of the transformations is, therefore, possible to describe and analyze the renewal of ancient hydraulic systems without obliterating neither the continuities nor the ruptures that they traverse, even in case of the juxtaposition of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ systems. This research focused on the Sidi Okba oasis in the Algerian Sahara. This territory is interesting for our study as the use of modern technologies for deep groundwater exploitation contributed actively to transform its community spate irrigation system into two separate irrigated spaces: the ancient palm grove where the community continues to irrigate collectively and the extensions where agriculture is based on private tube-wells. This territory is complex by the mobilization of several water resources (dam releases, dam leakages and groundwater exploited from phreatic and confined aquifers), but also by the juxtaposition of two forms of Saharan agriculture. To unravel the complexity, in time and space, we developed an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar analytical framework. This framework allowed us to show, first, the capacity for agricultural renewal after the collapse of the community spate irrigation system. The community seized opportunities to develop a market agriculture in new irrigated areas while maintaining a family organization inherited from traditional oasis agriculture. Second, the availability of pumped groundwater enabled the survival of the ancient palm grove. We showed the importance of adaptations of irrigation infrastructure in addition to crafting the rules in the renewal of the collective irrigation system. Third, the use of the analytical framework revealed how the irruption of modern pumping technologies and socio-economic opportunities in the new irrigated spaces modified, transformed and accelerated the restructuring of social relations in the community irrigation system of the ancient palm grove. Fourth, our analysis illustrated the territorial continuity between the two irrigated spaces. Thus, the new irrigated spaces are a creatio ex materia of the traditional oasis system of Sidi Okba. Through our research, we conclude that it is important to consider the ancient and new irrigated areas as one and same territory by recognizing both territorial complexity, hybridity in each space, and existing interactions between traditional and modern systems. The analytical framework developed in this thesis offers the necessary tools to read and understand the renewal of community-managed irrigation systems in order to face the current profound climatic, environmental, ecological and socio-economic vulnerabilities.
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Meriem-Farah Hamamouche. Renouveau d'un système irrigué communautaire suite au déverrouillage de l'accès aux eaux souterraines profondes. Cas du territoire oasien de Sidi Okba dans le Sahara algérien. Etudes de l'environnement. AgroParisTech; Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, 2017. Français. ⟨tel-01627771⟩

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