Morocco framework agreement worth around 115.4 billion dirhams for the implementation of the 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply signed under the chairmanship of HM King Mohammed VI in Rabat last January.

This agreement defines the conditions and methods of financing and implementing this program which aims at consolidating and diversifying the sources of drinkable water, supporting demand for this invaluable source, guaranteeing water security, and combating the effects of climate change.

The Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, Abdelkader Amara, said that this integrated program, developed in consideration of the water situation in the Kingdom and studies on this issue.

The program concerns improving water supply, notably by building dams (61 bln MAD), managing demand and developing water mainly in the agricultural sector (25,1bln MAD), strengthening drinking water supply in rural areas (26.9 bln MAD), reusing treated wastewater in the irrigation of green areas (2.3 bln MAD), and boosting communication and raising awareness concerning the importance of preserving water resources and rationalizing their use (50 million dirhams).

The program will be funded up to 60% by the general budget of the State, 39% by the stakeholders concerned, particularly the National Office of Electricity and drinking water (ONEE), and the rest as part of the public-private partnership.

Steering committee will chair the implementation of Morocco water supply

The monitoring of the implementation of the program will be ensured by a steering committee chaired by the Head of Government, a technical commission chaired by the Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water and regional commissions chaired by the walis of the regions.

On the issue of improving water supply, the program provides for its construction of 20 large dams with a storage capacity of 5.38 billion m3, with a budget of 21.91 billion dirhams. The construction of these new dams will bring the overall storage capacity of the Kingdom to 27.3 billion m3.

An inventory had been made, at the level of the various regions of the Kingdom, for there are likely 909 sites to house small dams and hill dams. the Kingdom has currently 130 small dams and that 20 similar dams are under construction.

The National Program also involves the exploration of groundwater with a view to mobilizing new resources, as well as the construction of new seawater desalination stations which will be an addition to those already operational in Laayoune, Boujdour, Tan Tan and Akhfenir. Two desalination stations are under construction in Agadir and Al Hoceima and three others are scheduled in Casablanca, Dakhla and Safi.

The water saving program will give positive impacts on the agricultural sector In accordance with the High Royal instructions relating to the continuation of the water saving program in the agricultural sector, the 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply will concern, in its section relating to the supply of irrigation water, an overall area of 510,000 ha and will benefit 160,000 farmers.

This section, which mobilizes investments worth 14.7 billion dirhams, touches in particular to the continuation of the national program for irrigation water saving which will have to mobilize a budget of nearly 9.5 billion dirhams, and aims to convert traditional irrigation systems into drip irrigation systems, based on the positive results achieved by the Green Morocco Plan, which has enabled to bring the drip irrigation equipped lands to 585,000 Ha (100,000 beneficiary farmers).

There are plans to equip an additional 350,000 ha with drip irrigation under the new program. It will also involve the continuation of the hydro-agricultural development project for the safeguard of the Saiss plain, the development and modernization project for small and medium-sized irrigation areas, and the launch of the hydro-agricultural development project in the Southeast region from the Gharb plain.

Drinking and irrigation water supply will generalize rural zone water supply

The 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply aims to generalize the drinking water supply for the rural zone and to fight precariousness in some regions, particularly during periods of drought.

The measures relating to this aspect concern the rural centers, stressing those 659 centers will be provided for within this framework, for 5 bln MAD, which will allow the generalization of individual connections to all rural centers. 7,876 villages will be programmed under these measures, for an amount estimated at 9.68 bln MAD, which will enable the generalization of the drinking water supply to all villages in the Kingdom.

The program aims to improve the output of distribution networks in cities and urban centers by 78% by 2027, with a saving of nearly 207 million m3 of water, the optimization of investments relating to water infrastructure, the guarantee of the continued supply of drinking water and the improvement of the quality of services.

A national integrated liquid sanitation program has been adopted in urban and rural areas and the reuse of treated wastewater, which sets the goals of carrying out liquid sanitation projects for the benefit of 128 cities and urban centers and equipping 1,207 rural centers with a sanitation network, as well as the reuse of treated wastewater in the irrigation of green areas have been applied.

The first phase of the said 2020-2027 program will mobilize 100 millions m3/year by 2027, through the completion of 87 projects, including 22 for the irrigation of golf courses.