Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Morocco lacks water

Written by Gérard Tur on Tuesday, April 5th 2022 à 10:00 | Read 406 times

Exceptional drought, strong demographic growth, rapid urbanization, overexploitation of groundwater, choice of a high water-consuming agriculture ... Morocco is in a deadlock.

Morocco is experiencing a record drought. Photo DR
Morocco is experiencing a record drought. Photo DR
MOROCCO. Morocco is currently suffering its worst drought in over forty years, with -64% rainfall compared to a "normal" season. A catastrophe that follows already critical years, with the exception of 2021. The country's many dams are practically dry, with an average filling rate of 30%. They will therefore not be able to compensate for the lack of rainfall.
Morocco is developing its agriculture despite global warming, relying on the multiplication of dams. Irrigation accounts for 80% of the water consumed in Morocco. A risky gamble that the kingdom is losing.
Crops are threatened by drought. In 2022, cereal production will fall by a third or more compared to 2021. One million hectares have not been ploughed, out of a total of 4.5 million for the 2021 harvest. After an emergency aid plan of €950 million was put in place in February 2022, the government will probably have to draft a rectifying finance law to take account of the shortfall. The agri-food sector generates 21% of GDP (14% for agriculture) and represents 39% of jobs.
The shortage also affects the cities. Many villages will have to be supplied by tankers. Marrakech, Oujda, Agadir, Casablanca could experience drinking water shortages.
To help the country overcome this critical situation, the World Bank granted €163 million on 26 March to help Morocco improve its water management. At the same time, the government has put in place rationing measures.
The future looks bleak as forecasts predict a 10-30% drop in rainfall by 2050. Dams will not be enough. In 2020, Morocco launched a 10 billion euro investment plan to build water reservoirs, desalination and purification plants. But it will take time to see the effects. Already, the construction of two desalination plants and about fifteen dams has been delayed.


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