Morocco: new National Plan for Water to meet the challenges posed by drought and climate change
The issues connected to climate change and the continuous drop in Morocco's freshwater reserves have induced the Country’s government authorities to focus their attention on the water supply sector. King Mohammed VI has mandated the Head of Government to set up a standing committee to analyse the crucial problem of the scarceness of drinking and irrigation water in rural and mountain areas, with the aim of providing the necessary support to the actions of the Minister of State in charge of Water, Ms Charafat Afailal, in developing and implementing a new National Plan for Water.
According to the latest data published by the World Bank, Morocco is one of the Countries that, by 2020, will have to tackle the problem of water shortage caused by drought and the over-exploitation of groundwater, which is forecast to determine a cost equal to 6% of GDP. The available per capita supply of water, measured in cubic metres per year, amounted to more than 2,500 in 1960, has now dropped to less than 700, and is forecast to drop even further in the upcoming years. On the basis of these figures, the Head of Government has already begun to pass a number of implementing decrees to enforce Law 10-95 on water while the Minister of State in charge of Water has put the National Plan for Water at the top of her Ministry’s agenda.
The Plan aims to meet Morocco’s water needs in 2030 through the implementation of 167 projects distributed in 9 catchment basins (Loukkos, Moulouya, Sebou, Bouregreg Chaouia, Oum Errabia, Tensift, Souss-Massa-Draa, Guirziz Rheris and Sakia El Hamra-Oued Eddahab).
The Plan also envisages passing legislation to regulate the recycling of waste water, in addition to increasing the number of existing large dams (presently surveyed to be 140) by building another 30 that will add on to the network of 200 small and privately-built dams. In this perspective, the approval of implementing regulations for Law 30-15 on the safety of dams, assumes considerable importance.