| ||Souf is on the edge of the desert 372 miles southeast of Algiers. Its capital, El-Oued, is prosperous and has made a name for itself by producing deglet-noor dates in its palm groves and exporting them to Europe. To make their economy prosper, the Sufi have increased production by extending the irrigated perimeters of fruit and vegetable crops meant for markets in large towns. Cereals, forage and vegetables are grown in large circular parcels (that can each cover 60 ha) sprayed by a central pivot. These very powerful engines significantly reduce production costs. But this is not the not a picture of a flourishing desert, it is a picture of a disaster. The massive irrigation and the installation of running water in towns mean that deep water table levels are running low. The water that is washed up on the surface pollutes the superficial water table which swells and now comes through the soil in many places : humidity affects homes and the soil is drenched in stagnant water that has already asphyxiated a million palm trees.
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