The Government of Morocco takes a new step in its fight for water security by implementing new measures to sustain the water supply

The Safi desalination plant comes into operation

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Ministro de Agua y Equipamiento del Reino de Marruecos
photo_camera PHOTO/ARCHIVE - Minister of Water and Equipment of the Kingdom of Morocco

The objective of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on July 5 by the Government of Morocco and the OCP group is to provide drinking water to the cities of Safi, El Jadida and the surrounding regions by desalinating sea water. The bold goal of the plan is to produce approximately 10 million cubic meters of drinking water by 2023.

Operations have started at the Safi seawater desalination plant, the Ministry of Logistics and Water announced. According to the ministry, “This innovative project, realized thanks to the unwavering commitment and cooperation of all parties involved, aims to ensure a sustainable supply of drinking water in the face of increasing climate changes, which are significantly reducing conventional water resources,” it said in the statement. 

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Planta de tratamiento de agua
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Wholesale water treatment plant

According to the agreement, OCP Green Water will have the capacity to desalinate seawater to provide drinking water at competitive prices by utilizing ”state-of-the-art technologies,“ ”adoption of renewable energy sources,“ and ”research and development efforts." An annual supply of 35 million cubic meters of water for industrial use for the OCP Group is what the agreement seeks to guarantee.

Morocco has recently increased investment in desalination projects as the country struggles to maintain its water security. The nation has pledged 383 billion dirhams ($37.6 billion) over a 30-year period to upgrade the country's water infrastructure for domestic and agricultural uses as part of a comprehensive 2020-2050 plan.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Según informes del Banco Mundial, los recursos hídricos por persona de Marruecos podrían caer a 500 metros cúbicos para 2050
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - According to World Bank reports, Morocco's water resources per person could fall to 500 cubic meters by 2050

Similarly, desalination projects include the installation of a desalination plant on the Atlantic coast, the construction of a wastewater treatment facility on the Mediterranean coast and the updating of desalination methods in northern Morocco. By making these investments and undertaking these initiatives, the nation's water quality will be improved and its citizens will have a reliable supply. 

The plan also includes measures to protect the water supply from the imminent threat of climate change. The government seems to be gradually making up for the years of delay in the crucial water project.  

PHOTO/REUTERS -  Tres mujeres caminan con su burro llevando recipientes de plástico con agua a sus casas a las afueras de Azrou, en Marruecos
PHOTO/REUTERS - Three women walk with their donkey carrying plastic containers with water to their homes on the outskirts of Azrou, in Morocco

To initially guarantee the supply of Rabat, Casablanca and their regions, the first works will be delivered and operational soon, since the hydraulic connections of the basins, also known as ”water highways", have been carried out at an unprecedented pace. In the coming weeks and months we will see more works of a similar nature. Desalination plants are also being installed around the world to safeguard other cities and their areas, such as Agadir, Marrakech, El Jadida, Khouribga, Safi, etc. 

In the medium term, the water problem, including the threat, should be solved, logically and in the light of all this and the numerous dams that are currently being built. However, given the strong climate trend, this should not prevent the development of a new culture that alters the way Moroccans see this essential resource.

If there is no paradigm shift on the part of the consumer, as far as public investments in infrastructure and budgets are concerned, they will really do no good. The dedication of users, whether they are households, businesses, farmers or others, will ultimately determine how long water security can be maintained. 

PHOTO/AFP - Presa de Al-Massira en el pueblo de Ouled Essi Masseoud, su embalse abastece de agua potable a varias ciudades, incluidos los tres millones de personas que viven en Casablanca
PHOTO/AFP - Al-Massira Dam in the village of Ouled Essi Masseoud, its reservoir supplies drinking water to several cities, including the three million people who live in Casablanca

Moroccan nature and environmental preservation laws protect Morocco's greatest asset. Desalinated water can only be used for domestic purposes; neither industrial nor agricultural enterprises will be able to use it. In addition, Morocco has a law that prohibits extracting water from deep aquifers. 

Morocco will continue to be a pioneer in efficient water management in the future. However, the nation faces a number of difficulties, such as climate change, the depletion of water supply and the sustainability of agriculture. Although Morocco has demonstrated its ability to address these issues through innovation, teamwork and citizen involvement. As a result, Morocco serves as an example for other nations in the North African region. 

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