Non classé

A boost for Water Supply and Irrigation in Morocco

A total budget of 143 billion dirhams has been allocated to accelerate the National Program for Potable Water Supply and Irrigation from 2020 to 2027. 

This announcement was made by Nizar Baraka, the Minister of Equipment and Water, during a working session with His Majesty King Mohammed VI at the Royal Palace in Rabat. This session followed the King’s directives, highlighting the critical nature of water resources in his parliamentary speech in October, stressing that « the current state of water resources calls on all of us—government, institutions, and citizens—to act with truth and responsibility to address the weaknesses and shortcomings it reveals. »

National Efforts and Strategic Approaches

Current national efforts aim to achieve the royal vision for water security. Nizar Baraka has outlined the strategic approach which, alongside the traditional focus on mobilizing conventional water sources, now also emphasizes two new strategic pillars: the use of non-conventional water resources and water demand management. Previously focused on managing water supply, the Kingdom now aims to manage demand by reducing waste, increasing the efficiency of water distribution networks, and implementing aquifer contracts. « The fundamental idea is that we now have a balanced strategy across these three components and categories of action, » explained the minister.

Accelerating Projects

Specifically, the minister detailed the measures taken to achieve the set goals, including accelerating the project to interconnect the Sebou, Bouregreg, and Oum Er-Rbia water basins, with the urgent 67 km phase of this interconnection already underway. Additionally, new dams are being programmed, and the costs for about twenty planned dams have been updated, allowing an increase in storage capacity by 6.6 billion cubic meters of fresh water.

Currently, 17 large dams are under construction, adding to the 150 already operational nationwide, which collectively have a capacity of 20 billion cubic meters. To expedite these major projects, the completion timelines have been reduced from 12 to 6 months.

The acceleration of non-conventional water resource mobilization projects is also crucial, involving the programming of seawater desalination plants and increasing the capacities for reusing treated wastewater. The ministry aims to achieve 100 million cubic meters per year of treated wastewater for urban green space irrigation by 2026, and 1.3 billion cubic meters per year from seawater desalination by 2030, equivalent to the current annual national consumption of potable water.

Expansion and Future Plans

In addition to the existing desalination plants, the ministry plans to add 20 more stations, with several to be completed by 2030, including stations in the Oriental region (2027), Safi (2025), Nador (2023), Tarfaya (2027), Essaouira (2027), Guelmim (2027), Tan Tan (2027), and Boujdour (2030).

During the royal meeting, attended by Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, Royal Advisor Fouad Ali El Himma, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit, and Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Baraka also discussed enhancing potable water supply in rural areas by extending coverage to more villages and strengthening logistical and human resources.

Efficient Water Management

Beyond building dams and mobilizing non-conventional water resources, efficient water management also requires involving all stakeholders. Groundwater contracts are a key mechanism for integrating all local water users and determining the water allocation based on available resources.

Examples of regions where these participatory and responsibility-sharing groundwater contracts have been implemented include Agadir, Berrechid, Boudnib, and Berkane. Additionally, the Water Department has launched various awareness programs through audiovisual media, partnerships with the Ministry of Habous, and regional Water Fairs organized by each Hydraulic Basin Agency.

These transformative efforts in water usage practices are a major priority, logically preceding the water re-pricing initiative strongly recommended by experts, including the Special Commission on the Development Model.