Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Moroccan Minister Warns of ‘Alarming’ Situation Due to Water Scarcity, Drought

Moroccan Minister Warns of ‘Alarming’ Situation Due to Water Scarcity, Drought

Tuesday, 24 May, 2022 - 09:30
A dry field is pictured near Marrakech, Morocco February 12, 2022. (Reuters)

Morocco’s Minister of Equipment and Water Nizar Baraka warned that the water situation in the kingdom is “alarming” and that it is likely to endure drought this year.

Speaking at parliament on Monday, he said agricultural production will consequently be “below average” this year.

He added that the sharp drop in rainfall since 2018 has decreased the levels of water in the kingdom’s dams to 33.7%.

The kingdom's dam reservoirs are currently holding 5.44 million cubic meters of water.

Rising temperatures have also contributed to water evaporation, proving another source of water scarcity.

Baraka also noted challenges resulting from the war in Ukraine, revealing that Morocco only has a four-month reserve of grains.

The prices of construction materials also increased, which raised the cost of equipment and building dams.

In order to ensure water security in Morocco, Baraka said the government has focused on four steps: increasing the pace of dam construction, desalinating seawater, developing coastal areas with local water and using dam water for internal regions.

Moreover, he stated that the construction process of 16 dams has kicked off.

The government is expected to build 20 dams by 2027.

Baraka noted the implementation of a plan to desalinate 300 million cubic meters of water in Casablanca, revealing that 20 similar projects are expected to be carried out.

As for wastewater treatment, he said Morocco can treat up to 70 million cubic meters, with the aim to raise it to 700 million cubic meters.

He called for developing a policy to address violations, such as the random drilling of wells and water theft.

Editor Picks