New desalination plant points towards Morocco's drought response

  • 23.11.2022
  • Reuters

That early assessment of the plant's effectiveness comes as the government plans a further 12 desalination facilities, part of an expected investment in water projects of $12 billion in 2020-2027.

The new plants, which will be added to nine smaller ones already operating, are supposed to open by 2035, the state water and electricity utility ONEE said in an email.

Morocco now relies on surface and underground water for nearly all its freshwater consumption, using mostly a network of 149 large dams.

Five consecutive years of drought have left many of these reservoirs depleted and Agriculture Minister Mohammed Sadiki last week told parliament most water would be diverted from irrigation to supply drinking water

Rainfall is often the single biggest factor in determining Moroccan economic growth rates and this year, the cereals harvest was two-thirds smaller than in 2021 and milk output down by 30%.

"I'm not even sure I will sow wheat this year because the rainfall has been so late," said Zakaria Khatabi, a farmer in Zhiliga, north of Rabat.