Water reserves throughout Morocco are seeing alarmingly low filling rates this year, threatening the country’s drinking water supply and agricultural production.
Rabat – Morocco’s dams are suffering from chronic water deficit, impacting the country’s supply for drinking water and irrigation. Experts warn the situation could worsen, leading to the depletion of Morocco’s water reserves.
The Regional Council of Souss-Massa addressed the issue during an event on July 6 in Agadir, underlining exceptionally low dam filling rates. At 16.24%, the Souss-Massa region’s filling rate this year is 13.58% less compared to the same period in 2019.
The Abdelmoumen dam in Taroudant currently retains only 5.9% of its capacity, while the Youssef Ben Tachfine dam is filled to a mere 12.9%. Agricultural areas in the region are struggling to meet the water supply demands for irrigation systems.
The Aoulouz dam is down 22.4% compared to the same period in 2019. Its current filling rate of 33.8% strains the Grand Agadir region to secure enough drinking water for local communities.
The Souss-Massa region is not the only region struggling to meet water needs. Recent heatwaves, recurrent drought, and overexploitation of water resources have contributed to the risk of reservoirs drying up and the overall lack of the vital natural resource in Morocco.
In early March, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch stressed the dire need for rainfall in order to resuscitate the hard-hit agricultural sector. While the month of March saw enough rain to boost the country’s overall dam fill rates from 46.2% to 49.7%, Morocco is still in critical need of water security solutions.
The Moroccan government has taken initiatives to improve the dams’ retention and filling rates in order to ensure sufficient water supply. The national program for the supply of drinking water and irrigation, devoted to improving water scarcity between 2020 and 2027, has secured MAD 115 billion ($11.9 billion) for the Souss-Massa region.
Morocco’s National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) is launching a local drinking water project aimed at contributing to water infrastructure development throughout the country. The project is aimed at supporting the eastern Guercif region by providing over 143,200 residents with a clean drinking water supply by 2022.
Morocco’s 35% drinking water production deficit and the significant lack of water for agricultural practices are not the only water-related concerns that the country is facing. Water scarcity issues are presenting greater problems than usual as critical efforts are being made to promote health and hygiene amid the COVID-19 pandemic.