Vulnerability assessment of the impact of sea-level rise and flooding on the Moroccan coast: The case of the Mediterranean eastern zone
The eastern part of the Mediterranean coast of Morocco is physically and socio-economically vulnerable to accelerated sea-level rise, due to its low topography and its high ecological and touristic value. Assessment of the potential land loss by inundation has been based on empirical approaches using a minimum inundation level of 2 m and a maximum inundation level of 7 m, where scenarios for future sea-level rise range from 200 to 860 mm, with a 'best estimate' of 490 mm. The socio-economic impacts have been based on two possible alternative futures: (1) a 'worst-case' scenario, obtained by combining the 'economic development first' scenario with the maximum inundation level; and (2) a 'best-case' scenario, by combining the 'sustainability first' scenario with the minimum inundation level. Inundation analysis, based on Geographical Information Systems and a modelling approach to erosion, has identified both locations and the socioeconomic sectors that are most at risk to accelerated sea-level rise. Results indicate that 24% and 59% of the area will be lost by flooding at minimum and maximum inundation levels, respectively. The most severely impacted sectors are expected to be the residential and recreational areas, agricultural land, and the natural ecosystem. Shoreline erosion will affect 50% and 70% of the total area in 2050 and 2100, respectively. Potential strategies to ameliorate the impact of seawater inundation include: wetland preservation; beach nourishment at tourist resorts; and the afforestation of dunes. As this coast is planned to become one of the most developed tourist resorts in Morocco by 2010, measures such as building regulation, urban growth planning and development of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, are recommended for the region.