Drought between 2022 and 2023 in Morocco.. the water situation and projects to overcome the danger

Nizar Baraka, Minister of Equipment and Water, revealed the outcome of the water situation in Morocco during the year approaching its end, the measures taken by the Ministry in charge of this essential sector to face the drought crisis, and the projects expected to be implemented during the next year in this context.

The procedures and measures, which were approved during one of the driest years in Morocco’s history, were considered effective by experts. But it needs speed in download and wisdom in management, to reach the numbers needed to overcome the danger stage.

water position

In response to Hespress’s question about the water situation for the year 2022, Baraka said that the rainfall, from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022, varied on average between 16.4 mm and 325 mm; This represents a deficit of 47 percent at the national level compared to the precipitation rate.

This rainfall resulted in poor annual water revenue as the total volume of water revenue recorded in all major dams of the Kingdom during this year was approximately 1.95 billion cubic meters. This is the lowest annual import volume ever, accounting for an estimated shortfall of 85 percent compared to the annual average of imports and 63 percent compared to last year, the same government official added.

The Kingdom also experienced a succession of dry years during the period from 2018 to 2022 as it recorded annual deficit rates estimated at 54 percent, 71 percent, 59 percent and 85 percent respectively. Thus, the period from 2018 to 2022 is the driest period ever, with total imports of about 17 billion cubic meters; This became the lowest total import in five consecutive years, after the minimum amount was 17.6 billion cubic meters corresponding to the period from 1991 to 1995.

The status of these imports was reflected in the national filling rate of dams, as the volume of water reserves in dam injections up to August 31, 2022 amounted to about 4.16 billion cubic meters, equivalent to 25.81 percent as a total filling rate, compared to 40, 5 percent recorded on the same date last year.

During the period from September 1, 2022 to December 21, 2022, the civil servant confirmed that the country saw precipitation that varied between 20.5 and 236 mm; This represents a deficit of 20 percent at the national level compared to the precipitation rate.

The total volume of water input registered in all the major dams of the Kingdom during the same period was approximately 1.77 billion cubic meters. This is a deficit of 29 percent compared to the annual import rate and a surplus of 281 percent compared to the previous year for the same period.

All the basins registered a deficit in imports compared to the average, ranging between 10 percent and 82 percent, with the exception of the Loukkos basin, which recorded a surplus of 32.4 percent.

On December 21, 2022, the volume of water reserves in dam injections amounted to about 5 billion cubic meters, which is equivalent to 31.1 percent as a total filling rate, compared to 34.3 percent recorded on the same date last year.

completed actions

The measures taken during the year 2022 were summarized by Nizar Baraka, Minister of Equipment and Water, in the acceleration of the supply of town centers and roundabouts based on sustainable water systems within the framework of the national program for the supply of drinking water and irrigation 2020-2027, and strengthening the operations of the mobilization of additional water resources, in particular by the completion of wells to explore and exploit water, and start the seawater desalination plant, Chtouka Ait Baha, in the Souss-Massa region to exploit.

A request of interest was also launched for the completion of the Casablanca-Settat seawater desalination plant project last March, the opening of envelopes during last June, and the programming of the completion of the seawater desalination plant in the eastern region to provide drinking water to the inhabitants of cities and towns located in this region, as well as irrigation of agricultural land Lower Moulawiya, and the completion of hill dams and small dams.

The same government official stated that mobile units have been installed to desalinate brackish water in aquifers in areas where brackish water aquifers exist, and the completion of a canal connecting the drinking water network north of Casablanca with the network south of the city, and the installation of pumping platforms to to be able to exploit the lower parts of the reservoirs of some dams, and to supply potable water to the city of Safi from the desalination plant of sea water at the beginning of the year 2023 by the Sherifian Office of Phosphates, and the supply of potable water to the securing the city of El Jadida from the seawater desalination plant in Jorf Lasfar by the Sherifian Office of Phosphates from March 2023. The emergency part of the water transfer project from the Sebou basin to the Bouregreg basin.

Programmed actions

The Istiqlal Minister revealed that the National Program for the Supply of Drinking Water and Irrigation Water 2020-2027 has been prepared, with an estimated budget of 115 billion dirhams, in order to accelerate investment in this sector with the aim of ensuring water supply, especially by diversify, exploit and manage water supply sources in an integrated manner.

According to Baraka, this program is based on five axes, which are concerned with the development of the water supply by building 20 large dams, building small dams for local development, using desalination of sea water, connecting water basins, prospecting ground water, to develop drinking water. water supply facilities, the management of demand and valuation Water resources by continuing the implementation of the conversion program to localized irrigation and hydro-agricultural development in the Loukkos and Sebou basins.

This program is also based on improving the supply of potable water in fragile rural areas, the reuse of treated liquid disinfection water, especially for watering green spaces and golf courses, and on communication and awareness.

The Ministry of Equipment and Water is currently working, in coordination with all stakeholders in the sector, to download the contents of the national program for the supply of drinking and irrigation water 2020-2027.

In this context, a set of important amendments to the above program was approved, in order to keep track of the development of the hydrological situation at national level; Especially in relation to seawater desalination projects and waste water reuse projects.

As a result, the cost of the program was updated to 150 million dirhams, instead of 115 million dirhams, which was programmed as an initial cost.

levels to be achieved

Abdel Rahim Kasiri, head of the Association of Teachers of Life and Earth Sciences in Morocco, described the government’s handling of the crisis as smart and gradual, as the ministry identified the problem related to the dangerous scarcity that Morocco has reached . The delayed projects programmed were also accelerated, in addition to declaring a state of emergency, mobilizing all stakeholders and doubling the budget and financial capabilities.

On the other hand, the researcher explained that the percentage of rain that has fallen recently should not lead to satisfaction, stressing the need to accelerate the programmed projects, especially in light of the rapid climate change and the return of the sun in various cities of the Kingdom, as if the rain had not fallen.

Kasiri said that the percentage of rain that needs to be collected only at the level of dams reaches 19 billion cubic meters, and if new dams are added, we will reach 24 billion cubic meters, in addition to the need for 5 billion at the level of the water bed, in addition to another billion for desalinated water. sea ​​water.

To achieve these numbers, the researcher emphasized that Morocco needs an integrated policy in which all sectors, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, and civil society participate, to achieve this at medium and long-term levels.

The same spokesperson added that the foundations of mobilization and planning have been launched and need to be strengthened. Advisory committees must be structured and their modus operandi must be changed; Because its effectiveness is poor, as evidenced by its inability to stop the depletion, and to regulate the types, size and area of ​​implants.

Kasiri pointed out that “the land approach is essential to control the crisis, as it is necessary to know at the level of each land area how large the available amounts of water resources are, and how much they will be after 5 or ten years, and accordingly we plan.”

Regarding the demands of some to limit some crops that deplete the water bed, the head of the Association of Teachers of Life and Earth Sciences in Morocco said: “A study must be done in which universities, civil society and relevant interests participate, and planning by assuming the worst case scenario, i.e. expecting the next five years without rain, and we study the impact of Cultivation of each product in light of the available amounts of water resources, to achieve accurate results about the nature of these cultivations and the magnitude of their impact.

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