Beyond the dangers of water scarcity and resource management, two thirds of Morocco’s beaches are at risk of coastal erosion.
Agadir – The World Bank Group (WBG) has highlighted Morocco’s vulnerability to climate change in its latest “Climate Risk Country Profiles.”
WBG explains that Morocco’s position stems from a combination of political, geographic, and social factors. Climate change has “already put pressure on the country’s natural resources, affecting the resilience of… the agriculture sector, particularly due to water scarcity,” noted the study.
The report notes an increasing frequency and intensity of droughts in Morocco while raising alarms about the prospects of the country’s agricultural sector. Rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns will unravel additional risks in resource management for the country, according to the study. WBG explains that this will affect both rural livelihoods, as well as the national economy.
The study draws attention to the challenges that semi-arid areas in Morocco face. Many of the communities living in remote, semi-arid areas in Morocco are vulnerable to food insecurity, WBG found.
It argued that due to unsustainable agroecological systems and crop failure, many in such water and resource-deprived areas lack stable livelihoods. Morocco has already made efforts to alleviate rural suffering, allocating MAD 200 million ($20.2 million) to farmers affected by drought in Marrakech-Safi’s Rehamna region in 2020.
The WBG report predicts temperatures across North Africa to increase by 1.5°C to 3.5°C by 2050, and potentially 5°C by the end of the century. As such, “warming rates are projected to be faster in the country’s interior.”
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Meanwhile, the World Bank’s projections show a significant decrease in annual rainfall across Morocco between 10% and 20%, and as much as 30% in the Saharan region.
“Even with no change in precipitation, evaporation will increase due to rising temperatures and thus surface soil moisture will decrease,” leading to severe water shortages, said the report.
To respond to the challenges caused by years of drought, Morocco launched a new water plan in 2020. The $12 billion (MAD 107 billion) National Water Plan is set to build dozens of dams throughout the country by 2027.
Beyond water management, the study indicated that rising sea levels will also pose high risks for coastal areas in Morocco. “An estimated 42% of the coastline will be at high risk of erosion and floods by 2030,” reads the study. The rising sea levels will affect agriculture, livestock, health, water resources, and tourism.
In terms of recommendations, the World Bank suggests that Morocco improve its epidemiological surveillance system, build up health facilities resilience in face of natural disasters, improve emergency and response plans preparation, and promote research focused on climate change.