The government of Morocco has announced a new emergency program to address drought in the agricultural sector. The country will release a total of €940 million (10 billion Moroccan dirhams) for water supply projects.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI announced on February 16, 2022, the launch of a new emergency program in the kingdom. This initiative aims to improve water supply in response to the intensifying drought.
Unlike the Priority Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation Program 2020-2027, launched in January 2020, or the Emergency Plan announced in January 2022 by Morocco’s Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, which aims to provide drinking water to households and farmers, the new program has been tailored to the agricultural sector. While the resilience projects undertaken over the years are gradually bearing fruit, much remains to be done.
940 million investment
According to the Moroccan authorities, the new emergency program aims to mitigate the effects of water stress, due to the delay in rainfall, through the multiplication of irrigation projects. The water collected through these irrigation projects will also be sent to livestock farmers in the kingdom.
The Moroccan government estimates that the realization of the new emergency plan will require an investment of 940 million euros, or 10 billion Moroccan dirhams. Part of the funds will be used to finance operations to supply the market with wheat and fodder and to relieve farmers of their financial burdens.
In Morocco, the drought is causing a drastic decrease in the level of filling of dams. From 40.6% in January 2021, this level has dropped to 34.1% in January 2022. And the situation is expected to worsen further according to the climate forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). While waiting for the official launch of the new emergency drought program in the agricultural sector, other initiatives are continuing in the Kingdom of Morocco.
The National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) is currently implementing a seawater desalination project in the greater Casablanca area. The plant, which will desalinate water from the Bouregreg and Oum Er Rbia basins, will have a capacity of 200 million m3 per year, expandable to 300 million m3 per year.