Moroccan Member of Parliament and former Minister of Tourism Lahcen Haddad has urged the government to review its policies for water and energy security.
Haddad made the call on Monday, February 1, during the monthly general policy session at the House of Representatives, which saw the presence of Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani.
Speaking on behalf of the Al-Istiqlal (Independence) Party, Haddad questioned El Othmani and the Moroccan government about the country’s projects in the fields of water and energy security. According to him, these projects have witnessed an “unjustified” delay.
Water and energy “security” refers to the ability of a country to independently produce or stably purchase sufficient amounts of water or energy without being dependent on unstable or unreliable foreign producers.
As an example, the US recently improved their “energy security” by promoting the local shale gas industry, reducing their reliance on oil from the Middle East.
In the field of energy, Haddad commended Morocco’s efforts to locally produce electricity and to transition towards renewable energies.
However, he asked for explanations about why the national liquified gas plan that the Moroccan government launched five years ago was abandoned.
The plan, launched in December 2015 with a budget of MAD 45 billion ($5 billion), concerns the establishment of a major port in Jorf Lasfar, near Casablanca. The port would include a large storage unit for liquified gas, as well as a 400-kilometer pipeline supplying neighboring regions.
“Last year, the government announced that it has abandoned the gas plan without providing any explanation other than there is hope to renew [supply] contracts with Algeria,” Haddad recalled, stressing that “this amplifies Morocco’s energetic dependency.”
The MP also criticized the government for overestimating the potential reserves of the Tendrara gas field, in eastern Morocco.
“The field can produce, according to the government, 40% of our needs in the field of natural gas. But this is not scientifically proven,” Haddad warned. “We are completely far away from energy security.”
On the front of water security, Haddad alerted that Morocco’s ambitious policy of building dams does not necessarily translate to a better water supply for local populations.
“There are some people who live right next to dams but suffer from drought,” he said. “Water security is not just about filling dams and storing water. It is about managing and distributing water to help populations.”