The water shortage affecting Marrakech and the surrounding regions has become a major concern for citizens, but also for the authorities. The city, located in an arid region of Morocco, is facing increasing challenges in terms of water supply. Water resources have become increasingly limited, and this has led to water cuts for residents in several areas of the ocher city.
The consequences of this water shortage are serious. Households and businesses are forced to ration their water consumption, which has a direct impact on their quality of life and daily activities, even forcing them to buy bottles and canisters of mineral water despite their very high cost. . Farmers are also badly affected, as irrigation of agricultural land is limited, leading to reduced harvests and increased pressure on the livelihoods of rural people.
In addition, the wells, already dug, no longer give water, which pushes people to dig even deeper into the water table, considered Morocco’s strategic stock, according to ecologist Mohamed Benatta. He explains that this situation of shortage and water cuts is also observed in the North-East of the country, in the city of Oujda, where cuts are made in the middle of the day and in the middle of this heat wave.
” We have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the excessive exploitation of our water resources, but to no avail. We have delivered recommendations to save what can be saved, but in vain! Today, we are informed of the situation of the dams, but we neglect the situation of our water tables and groundwater. But that’s what we need. Our water tables are empty, they have been emptied”deplores this agronomist, and fervent defender of the environment.
In this regard, Benata warns of the real problem: “When you have a little rain, people think it’s good, that the dams have been filled, but you shouldn’t just focus on the dams. We have to focus on our water tables, whether our underground resources have been replenished or not, that is the essence of the problem that people are not aware of.“.
While recalling that underground resources represent our strategic water resources, Benata affirms that the filling of dams in general is temporary.
” In Oujda, citizens have been experiencing water cuts every day for almost a month, sometimes at 11am. The authorities told us that the canal was damaged, and that the pipe that comes from Machraâ Hamadi to Oujda broke, but normally the pipes are repaired in two or three days. Today, that’s not the problem. The problem is that the aquifers have been overexploited to such an extent that we have reached a dangerous stage. And there, the Ministry of Equipment and Water, instead of informing us about the situation of the dams, should give us information about the situation of our water tables and whether they have been replenished or not. Besides, most of the dams are almost dry“, explains the expert.
The worst, he notes, is the desire of farmers and exporters of fruit and vegetables to increase their production, especially that of avocado which consumes a lot of water.
” When I see the Ministry of Agriculture creating new irrigated perimeters using drip to save water, I know we have hit rock bottom. The drip has taken its toll. Moreover, it is a strategy that has not taken into consideration climate change and water scarcity, in addition to the rains which have dropped sharply and will continue to drop. And when we have heavy rains, they result in floods that we don’t take advantage of“, analyzes Benata.
In this period of worrying crisis affecting our country, the ecologist points to the continued exploitation by hotels and golf courses of our water resources, sometimes even drinking water, with complete impunity and without any awareness of the situation our country is going through, calling on those responsible for the sector to seriously address the issue of water stress before it is too late.
It should be recalled that a recent report by the Specialized Committee on the Evaluation of Water Policies indicated that the agricultural sector accounts for about 87% of total water consumption, or about 9 billion cubic meters per year.
The report also highlights the considerable loss of water in the transport and distribution networks, thus contributing to wastage. For example, a loss of 120 million cubic meters of water per year is estimated in the Agency’s action area of the Sebou hydraulic basin, 100 million cubic meters in the Agency’s action area of the Moulouya hydraulic basin, 64 million cubic meters in the action zone of the Kairouan Ziz-Gheris-Draa hydraulic basin agency, and 51 million cubic meters in the action zone of the hydraulic basin of Loukkos, raises the report. In addition, it is noted that 95% of wells in Morocco are illegal and unauthorized.