Inhabitants of the deserts in Morocco.. Water was scarce, and life became impossible |

Oulad Elsi Messaoud (Morocco) – Residents of the Moroccan village of Ouled Si Messaoud rush every morning to “resupply water from the public waterways or to a neighbor in poor Mashhad,” as described by Muhammad al-Sibai, who stopped plowing his field this year because of ‘ an exceptional drought.

Jesco Henschel, regional director of the Maghreb and Malta department at the World Bank Group, which has monitored the succession of dry seasons during the last four years for three years, issued “a sharp warning for the weakness of the Moroccan economy in light of of the increasing irregularity in the rainfall rates and the succession of drought years.”

This village is located in the fertile Chaouia region, 140 km from Casablanca, but its wells are starting to dry up due to the severe drought that hit the kingdom this year. As for the waterways that supply water to the population, “they only open two days a week,” according to the 60-year-old farmer. “Water scarcity torments us.”

While the lack of rain usually mainly affected the dry areas in the south and east of the Kingdom, this year the disaster extended to the banks of the Umm al-Rabea river, not far from the village.

The nearby Al Massira Dam no longer holds more than 5% of its water capacity, knowing that it is the second largest dam in Morocco, and supplies several cities with drinking water, including the economic capital, Casablanca, where almost three million people live.

The bottom of the dam became like a dam surrounded for several kilometers by soil and cracks, and some small water snails.

Altogether, Moroccan dams’ stocks do not exceed 27 percent of their capacity, which raises concerns. But the current drought is the worst in nearly forty years.

Morocco is already below the water scarcity limit set by the World Health Organization at 1,700 cubic meters per capita annually, while this share does not exceed 600 cubic meters in the Kingdom.

This rate was four times greater in the 1960s, when each person’s share of water was estimated at 2,600 cubic meters.

This has pushed Morocco into a state of “structural water stress,” according to a recent World Bank report.

Since the beginning of the year, experts have warned that drought will spread to about 50 cities.

The ground cracked, and the sheep starved

In response to the disaster that struck the kingdom, the Ministry of the Interior issued instructions to local authorities to limit the distribution of water when necessary, to prevent the irrigation of green spaces and golf courses with drinking water, and to prevent the illegal exploitation to prevent pits. , springs or waterways.

On July 1, Morocco’s Ministry of Equipment and Water announced that the country was in a “water emergency” due to declining water resources and high consumption. She emphasized the need to “stop the practice of any form of water wastage to preserve current resources, and to ensure the fair distribution of water for the benefit of all.”

In the long term, the authorities especially count on building 20 desalination plants by 2030, which are supposed to provide an important part of drinking water, according to the Ministry of Equipment and Water.

However, the expert on water, Muhammad Jalil, believes that “it is difficult to effectively track the extent of commitment to the measures taken by the authorities,” as the latter “manage the crisis instead of being a proactive measure of taking risks.”

The drought has also caused a major problem for Morocco’s important agricultural sector, causing the grain harvest to drop to just 34 million quintals, a 67 percent decrease compared to last year, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Monday .

The Ministry of Agriculture announced a decrease in the grain harvest in the Kingdom this year by 67 percent to almost 3.4 million tons, including 1.89 million tons of soft wheat.

It is worth noting that an area of ​​3.5 million hectares of land was cultivated in Morocco this year, of which 44 percent was allocated to soft wheat, 32 percent to barley and 24 percent to wheat.

◙ Trees die
trees die

She said that the current agricultural season has seen rainfall “amounting to 199 mm until the end of May last year, a decrease of 44 percent compared to the average rainfall during the last thirty years (355 mm).”

Agriculture consumes more than 80 percent of Morocco’s water resources, which also raises questions about the agricultural policy “which gives preference to water-consuming crops and large farms,” ​​according to agronomist Mohamed Sarayri.

Sarayri says the drip irrigation techniques used in this advanced farming lead to excessive consumption of water, with the aim of turning dry areas into fertile ones.

And the World Bank noted in its report that Morocco has tripled the area irrigated with this technique, which “will increase the total volume of water consumed by the agricultural sector instead of reducing it.”

And near the Masirah Dam, a 90-year-old man named Muhammad, standing in front of dry land, says, “We no longer plow the land, there is no more water,” but adds, “We accept the fait. accompli, we have no choice.”

On the other hand, young people seem to be less willing to stand firm, as a 14-year-old shepherd says: “We live in a fragile situation because of drought, and I feel that the situation will get worse in the future .”

In the coming years, Morocco is expected to face the problem of water stress in light of the instability of rainfall, as the per capita share of water, which was 3,000 cubic meters in the 1960s, is expected to be 700 cubic meters in 2025 meter will reach.

◙ daily suffering
daily suffering

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