Plant growth and productivity are mostly affected by water shortage. This stress conditions induces plant cell dehydration, which in turn triggers varied adaptive mechanisms, manifested by molecular, biochemical and physiological changes. Water deprivation effects were evaluated in four water wheat ( Triticum aestivum
) varieties adapted to either irrigated (Nasma and Marchouch) or semi-arid (Tigre and Achtar) Moroccan regions. Pigments content (chlorophyll a and b, and pheophytins), membrane stability (assessed by electrolytes leakage), proline accumulation, and plant growth (assessed by sixth leaf appearance and third tiller development) were measured. In Nasma, chlorophyll b and pheophytin contents was observed. Moderate changes of these pigments contents were recorded for Marchouch and Tigre. In all varieties, water deficit caused an increase of electrolytes leakage and proline accumulation. However, these effects were more dramatic in the irrigationadapted varieties. Also, sixth leaf appearance was delayed and third tiller development was strongly inhibited in these varieties; whereas these parameters were almost unchanged in semi-arid environment adapted ones. Third tiller development is a good morphological criterion to assess water stress tolerance of the local wheat varieties studied.