Potential Erosion Risk Calculation Using Remote Sensing and GIS in Oued El Maleh Watershed, Morocco

DOI: 10.4236/jgis.2015.72012   PDF   HTML   XML   6,969 Downloads   8,151 Views   Citations


Oued El Maleh watershed is considered the largest ocean basin of the Chaouia-Ouardigha region in Morocco. Severe flooding occurred in 1996, 2001 and 2002 in the watershed. Thus, significant economic and human damage has been caused. The floods of Mohammedia city, located in the outlet of the watershed, were due to the silting of the Oued El Maleh dam which has lost its ability to retain water. This work, therefore, aims to assess soil losses by water erosion in the Oued El Maleh watershed through modeling main factors involved in water erosion. The methodology used is based on the use of the universal soil loss equation (USLE). The model includes the following factors: soil erodibility, the inclination of slopes, the rainfall erosivity, vegetation cover and erosion control practices. The aggressiveness of rainfall was calculated for a number of stations bordering the study area and interpolated across the watershed using geostatistical model. Soil erodibility was extracted from soil map and soil survey. The effect of topography was approached by combining the degree of slope and slope length using a digital elevation model (ASTER) and ArcHydrology extension (ArcGIS). The vegetation cover was derived from Landsat image ETM through the supervised classification method. The index of erosion control practices was approached by field visits. All factors have been measured and integrated into a geographic information system which enabled us to spatialize the degree of sediment production at the watershed scale in a synthetic map. The annual soil loss is 8.21 t/ha/yr and the soil loss classification shows that surfaces affected by high erosion are equivalent to 10% of the watershed. Furthermore, this map is available to support land managers policy makers in the process of decision making related to soil conservation, infrastructure and citizens’ property protection.

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Lahlaoi, H. , Rhinane, H. , Hilali, A. , Lahssini, S. and Khalile, L. (2015) Potential Erosion Risk Calculation Using Remote Sensing and GIS in Oued El Maleh Watershed, Morocco. Journal of Geographic Information System, 7, 128-139. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2015.72012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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