A Walk up the Zarka Valley

In contrast to the fragmented systems we found around Fez, the Zarka Valley has a functional network of acequia. Little need for a mayor domo to direct the use of water, there is plenty to take when needed, as the river fed by the Zarka (blue) spring flows constantly. The fields are growing corn, interspersed with livestock fodder like clovers or alfalfa to replenish the soil for a few years between growing out the corn again. Along the edges of the fields, blooming oleander and various medicinal herbs flourish. The ditch system is well maintained and the government restores the concrete ditches, which look like they were recently refurbished.

Green fields flourish even in mid-summer in the Zarka Valley above Tetouan.
Recently refurbished canal systems are visible from above.

Terraced fields prevent runoff to hold water longer in the cultivated fields.
In the foreground, clover and alfalfa replenish the nitrogen in while providing feed.
Above, corn thrives as it is cycled through the field once every few years.

In the shoulder season, fields are plowed between harvests.
Egrets followed close behind as the farmer spreads his seed.
A few more grains are sown to share with our non-human neighbors.
Newly refurbished canals and headgates are provided by the government.
Several types of mint grow amongst the oleander.
Downstream, medicinal plants grow happily in the deteriorated headgate. Even though it is worn, the headgate works well in the way that water seepage keeps the soil moist.
As the water flows through various headgates, it is directed through lines etched into the landscape to provide paths through which water may drain into crop fields to completely saturate the soil.

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