Drought haunts Morocco’s crop year
Late rainfall is auguring ill for this year’s crop year in Morocco amid a depletion of water dam filling rate to worrying levels.
Last year Morocco had an exceptional cereals harvest of 13.5 million tons and exports of agri-food products rose 9.2% to 69 billion dirhams.
This year however farmers are ringing the alarm bell due to late rainfall asking the government to come to the rescue.
The situation is complicated due to the low water levels in Morocco’s large dams such as Abdelmoumen dam in Agadir region where the filling rate dropped to 4.5%, or Al Massira dam in Ouarzazate currently at 7%.
Head of the government said that urgent measures will be taken to support farmers.
The government has earmarked 320 million dollars (3 bln dirhams) to address water shortage in drought-hit areas of Souss, Moulouya, Oum Errabia and Tensift.
The country has 148 large dams and 135 small ones that are not enough so far to cover the increasing needs of the country.
Uneven water distribution is another problem with some 57% of water reserves of the country located in 7% of its territories, hence the need for 120 more small dams to be built by 2023.
Part of the solution can be found in desalination. Morocco has started operating a desalination plant in Agadir for drinking and irrigation purposes. The $470 million plant will have a daily capacity of 400,000 cubic meters of desalinated water and will help save underground water resources and irrigate 15,000 hectares.
Morocco plans similar plants in Casablanca, Sidi Ifni, Dakhla, Safi and Nador.