The government of Morocco has released US $12bn to fund water projects in the country. This follows a recent report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) predicting a lean year for water resources in the country.
According to UNECA, Morocco which ranks 22nd among the countries most affected by water stress, will by 2025 experience a state of water scarcity with forecasts of less than 1000 m³ of available fresh water per year per inhabitant. A situation that would undermine the country’s economy.
Currently the water stress in the Cherifian Kingdom is between 1,000 and 1,700 m³ of available fresh water per year and per capita. Morover, in large part because water resources are poorly managed; 35% of piped water is lost, and water stocks are being polluted with industrial and urban waste. Cultivable land is also compromised because of water shortages and soil erosion.
To counter this threat, the government has released the funds which will see water supply of the Kingdom secured and rationalized its use, particularly in agriculture. The projects includes the construction of dams. In this way, water storage could be improved, even if this raises questions of use and does not resolve the issue of the resource. There will also be preservation of the resource and the increase of water supply in rural areas.
Emergency measures also include the irrigation of 510,000 hectares of plantations. The initiative is expected to benefit 160,000 farmers. Traditional irrigation systems will be renovated and improved using drip irrigation technology, which combines efficiency of yield with intelligent conservation of the resource. The emergency drought programme will run from 2020 to 2027.