Addressing Water Shortage in Morocco: Strategies and Solutions for Sustainable Water Management

2024-02-21 17:47:01

Hicham Oukerzaz February 21, 2024 At 6:55 p.m.

The trend decline in water intake per capita is a reality which is confirmed year after year in Morocco and should be established at 500 meters per inhabitant per year by 2030. Worse still, the current allocation of 606 cubic meters per inhabitant per year is only ‘an average, but reality shows that 51% of these water supplies are concentrated on only 7% of the national territory, which amounts to saying that an inhabitant of the Loukkos region has 1,000 to 1,200 cubic meters per year, while that of the South only has 100 cubic meters per year.

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Water shortage: overwhelming figures

This clear observation was once again established by Nizar Baraka, who spoke during a conference-debate organized by theAlliance of Istiqlalian Engineers in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in Morocco. In 1960, recalls the minister, the water supply was 2,560 cubic meters per inhabitant per year. Today, this allocation has fallen to 606 cubic meters per inhabitant per year, with a projection of only 500 cubic meters by 2030. This constant decline places the country below the critical threshold of 1,000 cubic meters per inhabitant per year, thus marking its transition from a context of “water stress» to that of “water shortage”, underlines Mr. Baraka. And worse still, he continues, we must take into account the reality of the distribution of water supplies on the national territory. More than half of this water supply, or 51%, is concentrated on only 7% of the territory. This disparity creates significant gaps in access to water, with regions like Loukkos offering 1,000 to 1,200 cubic meters per year per inhabitant, while in southern Morocco this quantity drops to 100 cubic meters per person. inhabitant per year, notes the minister.

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And this situation obviously had repercussions on the dam reservoirs. These reserves have indeed fallen drastically, going from 22 billion cubic meters to only 3 billion cubic meters today. This massive reduction has led to an overexploitation of groundwater, which, although having a potential of 4 billion cubic meters which is renewed each year, today faces immoderate use. As a result, Morocco finds itself in a situation where it is consuming its water reserves for the future, thus compromising the sustainability of the water supply for generations to come, warns the minister.

What response measures can be taken to manage water stress?

In response to this critical situation, Morocco has undertaken, in accordance with the strategic orientations formulated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in his speech of October 14, 2022, to accelerate the implementation of the projects planned in the National Priority Water Program 2022-2027. These provide in particular for the completion of the construction of planned dams, notably 18 large dams as underlined by Mr. Baraka, and the construction of “water highways» consisting of interconnecting the hydraulic basins.

In terms of exploitation of unconventional waters, the minister recalled the objective of increasing the capacity for desalination of sea water tenfold, to increase it from 140 million cubic meters currently to 1.4 billion cubic meters in by 2030. The objective is, according to him, to cover 50% of the drinking water needs of coastal areas using new generation desalination stations using renewable energies.

In the same vein, Mr. Baraka indicated that his department would continue to strengthen its collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and local authorities in the area of ​​wastewater use. A very important area which aims to limit, according to him, the pressure on the dams so as to devote them exclusively to drinking water needs and irrigation.

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