An agreement was recently signed between the Moroccan National Office of Electricity and Water (ONEE) and the National Water Company of the State of Israel (MEKOROT), in the field of desalination and the reuse of treated wastewater. The aim of this partnership is to develop alternative water supply solutions in the face of drought.
Morocco wants to further develop its expertise in the fields of seawater desalination and the reuse of treated wastewater. This is the aim of the alliance forged on 17 November 2022 between the heads of the National Office of Electricity and Water (ONEE) in Morocco and the National Water Company of the State of Israel (MEKOROT).
Morocco’s interest in Israel is not insignificant. In this Middle Eastern country, 85% of wastewater will be recycled by 2022 and nearly 80% of the drinking water consumed in Israel will be supplied by five seawater desalination plants according to official estimates. The Cherifian kingdom is counting on this expertise to secure the water supply for its populations by 2035. Barely 500 m3 of fresh water will be available per capita per year in Morocco in 2022, compared to 2,500 m3 in 1960 according to the United Nations (UN).
Thus, a framework will be established for the implementation of cooperation actions in the fields of seawater desalination. “These actions will consist of the rehabilitation of drinking water installations, the management of installations through the development of digitalisation and geographical information systems, water quality, the management of sludge from purification and the introduction of innovative technologies”, Onee indicates.
Mitigating the effects of water stress
ONEE and MEKOROT will cooperate on research, development and capacity building, including communication and awareness-raising on the use of desalinated water and the reuse of treated wastewater.
In this way, Morocco hopes to adapt to the water stress affecting households and the agricultural sector. The Moroccan government expects to supply 100 million m3 of treated wastewater to Moroccans per year by 2027. By 2050, this capacity is expected to increase to nearly 340 million m3 per year, which represents an 80% treatment rate in Morocco. The North African kingdom currently operates 159 wastewater treatment plants that handle 56% of the wastewater in urban centres.
As for desalination, much remains to be done. The kingdom’s daily production of drinking water from the exploitation of this unconventional resource barely reaches 232,000 m3.