Morocco to tackle water scarcity with US$1 billion seawater desalination project in the offing

MOROCCO – Morocco is building Africa’s largest water treatment plant at a cost of MAD 10 billion (US$1 billion) to address water scarcity in the country.

The project which will be built in the country’s capital Casablanca will have a capacity of 300 million cubic meters, reports Morocco World.

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This was revealed by the Minister of Transport and Logistics Abdelkader Amara during his presentation of the sector’s budget draft for the year 2021, before the committee of infrastructures, energy and minerals in the House of Representatives.

The seawater desalination project comes in the context of significant deficits of Morocco’s water reservoirs which has limited access to portable water and for undertaking farming.

In July the national average dam filling rate was 45%, down from an already-low 54% in September 2019.

In 2015 the World Resources Institute (WRI) ranked Morocco among 33 countries to face extremely high-water stress by 2040.

In addition to building the mega plant, Amara said that his ministry has completed the construction of the water desalination station in Chtouka Ait Baha in the Souss-Massa region, and strengthened water flow to Morocco’s southern provinces.

The minister also announced the completion of works to connect the Tangier water system to the Khrofa dam, that of Agadir to the Aoulouz and Moukhtar Soussi dams, that of Targuist to the Al Hoceima dam, in addition to the hydraulic connection between the north and south of Casablanca.

The proactive move to beef up the regions water supply capacity follows Spain’s approval of a €5 million loan to Morocco earlier this month, to build two seawater desalination plants: One in Assa-Zag in the Guelmim-Oued Noun region, and one in Moulay Brahim in the Marrakech-Safi region.

The Council of Ministers approved the loan, which Spain will grant to Morocco’s National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) through the Spanish Fund for the Internationalization of Enterprises (FIEM).

The set of projects, according to the official adds to Morocco’s launch of five dams and completed construction of six dams in 2020 and the programming of five additional dams in 2021.

Meanwhile, 14 other dams are currently under construction in various regions across the country.

In 2015 the World Resources Institute (WRI) ranked Morocco among 33 countries to face extremely high-water stress by 2040.

In addition, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected a continued warming trend in Morocco, showing an increase of 0.5 degrees Celsius in the country since 1970.

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