Morocco Boosts Funding, Ambitions for 30-Year Water Plan

According to the World Bank, nearly 88 percent of water in Morocco, one of the world’s most water-scarce countries, is used for agriculture.  By 2050, without significant change, water availability is projected to fall, further straining the drinking water supply for the nation’s 37 million residents.

In 2020, the country announced a 30-year National Water Plan to address its ongoing crisis. At the time, $383 billion (USD) were allotted for its implementation. Last week, $14.3 billion (USD) was added to the budget.

Engineers are working to connect three water basins — the Sebou, Bouregreg, and Oum Er-Rbia — and heavily dam their waterways, which would increase water storage capacity. They are also working with farmers to implement less water-intensive irrigation methods, recycle wastewater, and deliver more fresh water to rural areas, Morocco World News reports.

Morocco is also moving ahead with less-traditional techniques, including large-scale desalination efforts. Three projects are under construction, boasting “a total daily production capacity of over 200,000 cubic meters.”

King Mohammed VI issued the instructions during a meeting on Tuesday in the Royal Palace in Rabat. The meeting was dedicated to overseeing the progress made in the implementation of the National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation.

During the meeting, the Minister of Equipment and Water Nizar Baraka delivered a presentation to the monarch detailing the water situation and the progress made on the program’s various components.

Through the national program, the government is working to interconnect the Sebou, Bouregreg, and Oum Er-Rbia water basins, constructing new dams and updating the costs of about twenty dams that are planned to increase the storage capacity to 6.6 billion cubic meters of freshwater.

Under the program, the government will also accelerate the transition to non-conventional water sources such as desalinated seawater, and increase the share of treated wastewater reuse capacities.

The program equally covers plans to boost the supply of drinking water to rural areas in Morocco.

Water security in Morocco

Morocco’s efforts to tackle water scarcity have been central to its development strategy in recent years. 

To this end, the country has launched a 30-year plan worth MAD 383 billion ($37.6 billion) that aims to enhance the national water grids for domestic and agricultural use, as well as safeguard water supply from climate change.

Water scarcity is a significant challenge for Morocco’s economic and social development goals, as its water resources are strained by a growing population and expanding agricultural activities. Agriculture alone consumes nearly 88% of the country’s water supply, according to data from the World Bank.

Morocco has one of the lowest water resources per capita in the world, averaging 645 cubic meters per year in 2015, well below the global water poverty line of 1,000 cubic meters per capita. 

Reports by the World Bank warn that Morocco’s water resources per capita could decline to 500 cubic meters by 2050, approaching the international threshold of extreme water scarcity.

In response, the country has launched several initiatives to mitigate the impact of climate change on its water resources, including the construction of 20 dams with a total storage capacity of 5.38 billion cubic meters and the planned construction of 1,000 small dams by 2030. 

Morocco is also investing in desalination projects, with three stations currently under construction and a total daily production capacity of over 200,000 cubic meters.

Another priority for Morocco is promoting the adoption of irrigation grids to optimize water use in agriculture.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 at 8:53 am and is filed under Morocco.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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