The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has lent Morocco €120 million to finance the Saïss Water Conservation Project that will help protect the country’s agricultural sector from the impact of climate change.
The project, which includes the construction of irrigation infrastructure, is being supported by a co-financing grant of €32 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
In Morocco, extreme water scarcity is being exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, and the unsustainable use of groundwater is leading to a reduction in groundwater reserves, posing a severe threat to agricultural production and rural livelihoods.
The Bank says its investment in this water project will improve climate resilience with support for the development of a transformative water transfer scheme that will deliver more than 100 million cubic meters of irrigation water to the Saïss plain each year.
It will also enable Morocco switch from highly unsustainable groundwater to the use of sustainable surface water resources, as well as improve access to best practice and efficient irrigation techniques.
Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, EBRD Director in Morocco said: “This investment is very important for Morocco to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and to secure sustainable water resources”.
Through this project, the EBRD “will foster greater private sector involvement and we will contribute to the development of Agriculture in the country, a key sector that provides 40 per cent of total employment”, she added.
The investment will also bolster community involvement in water governance by scaling up technical skills and institutional capacities and promoting private sector involvement in the adoption of improved, modern irrigation infrastructure and equipment. This will increase the efficiency of water use and services and promote drip irrigation and modern management methods of water demand, strengthening the capacity for climate change adaptation in the Sebou-Saïss basin.
The Green Climate Fund is a unique global initiative responding to climate change by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development. It was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and to help adapt vulnerable societies to the impacts of climate change.
Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has invested about €1.2 billion in 30 projects in the country.