The specter of thirst looms over the Kingdom – Today 24

The water scarcity crisis in Morocco increased during the year 2023, as the specter of thirst loomed over the Kingdom, threatening millions of citizens in various cities, while the crisis deepened further in the rural world dependent on agriculture as a result of successive years of drought and the limited and expensive alternatives in the field of irrigation.

In addition to the lack of precipitation for the fifth season in a row, the rise in temperatures contributed to the evaporation of huge amounts of water stored in the dams, as official estimates indicate the evaporation of one million and 500 thousand cubic meters per day, while the pressure on the water bed increased significantly, especially from agricultural farms. Major companies that direct a large proportion of their production abroad.

During this year, each citizen’s share of water continued to decline, moving from 650 cubic meters last year, to only 606 cubic meters per capita this year, which puts the Kingdom below the water scarcity line set by the World Health Organization at 1,700 cubic meters per capita annually.

This comes mainly due to the decline in the capacity of dams, as the filling rate of the country’s dams does not exceed 23.4 percent, while during the same day last year it was 31.1 percent.

The total water reserve decreased from 5041.3 million cubic meters during the same day last year to 3777.9 million cubic meters.

A significant shortage has also been recorded in water basins, according to official data, as the percentage of filling the Oum Er Rbia basin does not exceed 4.62 percent, while the Souss-Massa basin does not exceed 11.22 percent, the Bouregreg basin 19.55 percent, and the Draa-Oued Noun 20.46 percent, then Moulouya Basin at 25.53 percent.

To confront this dilemma, the government is working on three axes, the first of which is to strengthen the infrastructure by establishing new dams, and maintaining and expanding existing ones, in addition to establishing projects to connect water basins, and secondly by continuing to establish seawater desalination plants, as two of the plants entered service this year. To supply both the city of Safi and the city of El Jadida with drinking water. Where 10 million cubic meters of desalinated water will be provided to the city of Safi and 30 million cubic meters to the city of El Jadida. The third axis relates to rationalizing water consumption through awareness campaigns and encouraging economic actors to find alternatives to exploiting water, as happened with the Office Cherifi de Phosphate, which is moving towards dispensing with Surface and groundwater in transporting raw phosphate.

Through these options, Morocco aims to achieve more than 1,000 million cubic meters per year of desalinated sea water, which will be used for drinking, industrial, tourism, and irrigation water, and from 500 to 800 million cubic meters as an average annual volume transferred from the surplus water of the Sebou Basin to the Bouregreg and Oum Er-Rbia basins.

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