The US News Agency indicated “Bloomberg” In a recently published article, “The average rainfall in Morocco is the lowest in three decades“.
The same source indicated that the drought concerns the entire North African region, and even southern European countries, especially Spain, which are facing the threat of desertification.
For its part, the Moroccan meteorology attributed the noticeable weak rainfall during the winter season in Morocco and southern Europe to the weather and climatic conditions. “unfavorable“.
A ‘worrying’ agricultural season
On the outskirts of the city of Taza, in eastern Morocco, a number of farmers live in anticipation of what the sky may bring during the months of March and April. Until the hour, they did not see rain that quenches the thirst of the land, and the earners started selling their sheep for a handful of dirhams, because the land is semi-arid, and the price of fodder is ironing the pockets..
Noureddine, a fifty-year-old farmer and father of two daughters, is almost certain that he has not seen anything like this this year in terms of the scarcity of precipitation, and he said in an interview with the website “Sky News Arabia“:”These conditions, which do not bode well, the water scarcity burdens us. Neither can we water our land, nor do we fill the stomachs of our cattle, even bees have decreased in number and the hives in some areas are empty.“.
The spokesperson stated,: “The price of a bag of wheat bran jumped from 80 to 140 dirhams, while the price of fodder moved from 200 to 250 dirhams, in addition to “bale” Hay (a shovel in colloquial Arabic), which moved from 11 dirhams to 28 dirhams, and in some markets to more than 30 dirhams“.
Despite the absence of rain in the meteorological forecasts during the coming days, farmers and earners are committed tirelessly to raise their paws to the sky to pray and ask for rain.
Moroccan mosques have known to hold rain prayers on Friday, February 4, by order of the country’s monarch, and the imams delivered a unified sermon that included the significance of this year, which Moroccans have been reviving in order to seek God’s mercy whenever the rain is late in descending.
A frightening retreat for the dams bottle
The rate of filling dams in Morocco continued to decline, recording low numbers compared to previous years.
According to the Ministry of Equipment and Water, the filling rate of dams in Morocco was 34.1 percent as of January 14, while the rate in the same period last year was 44 percent..
The volume of the Al-Wehda dam, the largest dam in Morocco, decreased to 2 billion cubic meters, with a filling rate of 57.9 percent, as it recorded a decrease of half a billion cubic meters compared to the same period last year, when it recorded a filling rate of 72.1 percent..
Commenting on these figures, the environmental expert and community actor, Mohamed Benabou, said:: “This decline in the dams supply is mainly due to the accumulation of years of drought, at a time when the hydrological situation was characterized by a lack of rainfall, which resulted in a deficit in the various water basins, foremost of which are the Umm al-Rabi`, Mallawiya and Tensift basins. While very moderate rainfall was recorded during the period from September 2020 to October 31, 2021, ranging on average between 110 mm in the “Care Ziz Grace” basin and 515 mm in the Lokos basin.“.
The expert confirmed to the site “Sky News Arabia” that “These weak rain precipitations resulted in a deficit at the level of various water basins, as well as moderate water imports, as the total volume of water imports recorded in the total of the Kingdom’s major dams reached the limits of February 3 2022 About 5.459 billion cubic meters, compared to 46.7 percent recorded on the same date last year, which constitutes a large water deficit.“.
In the same context, the spokesman said that this situation “He moved Morocco from a time of water shortage to a time of scarcity, which prompted officials to take urgent measures to avoid the worst scenario, which is the specter of thirst. While the water stock currently available in the dams will enable it to secure the needs of potable water for all major cities supplied from the dams in normal conditions, with the exception of those located in the Moulouya, Oum El Rabie and Tensift basins, which are expected to know some difficulties if the hydrological situation does not improve.“.
Efforts to rationalize water use
In the face of these frightening data, the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture, Mohamed Seddiqi, expressed “his great concern” About drought, and forecast the worst agricultural production in the country in decades, according to what was reported “Bloomberg“.
In the event that no precipitation is recorded, during next March, the government will be forced to revise its expectations regarding the growth rate, as the economy is expected to lose 1.8 points of growth, according to estimates by economists, exceeding 20 billion dirhams (more than 2 billion dollars)..
Because of the great drought in Morocco, the authorities in the cities of Marrakesh, Oujda and Dakhla announced plans to ration water use.
The Wali of the Marrakech-Safi region issued a decision prohibiting washing cars and trucks outside the places designated for them, and also called on professionals to use non-water-consuming techniques..
According to the same decision issued on January 26, which I have seen “Sky News Arabia“The official in the Ministry of Interior also prohibited washing roads and alleys with water and store fronts, watering stadiums, and public or private green spaces during the day, and gave instructions to stop filling private and public pools with water in an unreasonable manner, with the obligation to equip these pools with water recycling techniques..
The aforementioned resolution also urged every official of a governmental or semi-governmental institution to audit water consumption within his institution before the end of March 2022, with the formulation of a work program to increase the efficiency of water use within the institution before the end of June 2022, and to work on circulating and installing water-saving devices.
The Government Council, held on February 10, also addressed the problem of water scarcity and delayed precipitation.
And government spokesman, Mustafa Baytas, said that the government will launch “soon” a set of initiatives related to the current agricultural season..
In response to a question during a press conference that followed the cabinet meeting, Baitas confirmed that the government is following up on the issue of delayed rains. “with the required seriousness“And“A series of initiatives will be launched soon“.
In a related context, Paytas mentioned that the past agricultural year was distinguished, and contributed to achieving a high agricultural added value, and enabled the provision of capabilities at the level of forage and fodder..
water desalination projects
Morocco is making great efforts to address water scarcity and combat the effects of drought. In this regard, the Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, said, “Morocco has great potential for desalinating water at the lowest cost“.
Baraka confirmed, in an interview with the official news agency, that the focus is currently on the option of desalination, especially since the Kingdom has two sea fronts, and therefore has great potential in this field, noting that work will also be done on renewable energies that Morocco has on deposits. important ones, whether wind or solar, which allows desalination of water at the lowest cost.
In this context, the government official indicated that important stations have been built in the southern cities of the Kingdom (Al-Ayoun and Sidi Ifni), noting that the new experiment in the Chtouka Ait region will enable the provision of potable water for Agadir, and will help the agricultural sector by irrigating many hectares. of farmland.
Within the same dialogue, Baraka stressed that all coastal cities of Morocco tend to use water desalination, similar to Casablanca, whose project was launched this year, and desalination will start in 2026-2027, as well as Safi by 2025, and Nador, noting that the Ministry It aspires to construct 20 desalination plants.
According to the expert, Mohamed Benabou, it must also be “Enhancing the water supply by continuing the policy of large and small dams and hill lakes, while undertaking a series of projects aimed at preserving groundwater by accelerating the establishment of a sustainable and participatory management, and improving water efficiency through integrated water management at the level of major cities by linking water systems“.
It should be noted that Morocco has increased the pace of dam construction, as the Kingdom intends to build 120 new dams, according to the latest official data, by the year 2023, bringing the construction rate to 5 dams per month..