The government of Morocco is set to receive an over US$ 5.9M loan from its Spanish counterpart for the construction of two seawater desalination stations in the towns of Assa Zag in the economic region of Guelmim-Oued Noun and Moulay Brahim in Al Haouz Province of the Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz region.
Approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday the 3rd of November this year, the credit facility will be granted by the Official Credit Institute (Spanish; Instituto de Crédito Oficial: ICO) which is a Spanish lending institution that also operates as State Financial Agency, through its Corporate Internationalisation Fund (FIEM) to the Moroccan National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE).
According to a statement by the Presidency of the Spanish government, the seawater desalination project in question is a part of the development of a priority sector for the internationalization strategy of the Spanish economy, in this case, water in which Spanish companies have a great experience in.
The North African country’s efforts to respond to water needs
Aware of the challenges associated with securing the water supply and the need to mobilize other “unconventional” resources, Morocco has for years turned to seawater desalination in order to respond to water needs in cities experiencing water stress.
Back in 1973, the National Master Plan for the supply of drinking water highlighted the need for the desalination of brackish water and seawater as a solution for the supply of drinking water.
Since then, ONEE has carried out several projects relating to the construction, operation, and maintenance of desalination plants, mainly in the southern provinces, not only for reasons of aridity of the climate and the scarcity of conventional water resources but also the availability of seawater resources and the competitiveness, in terms of cost, of desalination, compared to other means of supplying drinking water.