King Mohammed VI of Morocco has unveiled a multi-billion strategy to ease water stress in the country. Morocco, one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, has set aside up to US$12 billion for water works to be undertaken over the next eight years.
The programme which was announced last month, will include the construction of dams, irrigation, improving the delivery of drinking water to rural areas, the treatment and reuse of wastewater, “awareness-raising” to reduce demand and the preservation of water resources.
As part of the draft 2020-2050 National Water Plan, the strategy foretells the possibility of Morocco spending up to US$40 billion on “dams, the connection of water basins, the desalination of seawater, the integration of all rural centers into structured drinking water supply systems”.
King Mohammed VI has inaugurated a series of projects in the hydraulic sector key among them, the US$ 96M – Moulay Abderrahmane dam which has a storage capacity of 65 million cubic meters.
Water from the dam will irrigate nearly 1 300 hectares of farmland, enabling more than 1 200 farmers improve yields. The dam and related projects will improve access to drinking water in the town of Essaouira and neighbouring areas and increase local agricultural production.
The World Resources Institute (WRS) ranks Morocco at number 22 among water-stressed countries in the world. A number of factors contribute to the situation in the country among them; scarcity, climate-change, socio-economic development, urbanization, and population growth.
Morocco, among the challenges, is faces dwindling reserves of groundwater and over dependence on rainfall for agriculture as only 15% of agricultural production benefits from irrigation.
As part of the National Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation Programme, the water strategy is devised with the aim of diversifying the country’s drinking water supply sources, and meeting the increasing demand for clean water in the country.