Morocco has experienced a period of significant drought this year, which has impacted the agricultural campaign, accompanied by water stress which limits the availability of water in Morocco. But the latest rains at the national level have given hope to farmers and citizens, hence the need to change our habits of water consumption, given the drought that is likely to return in the years to come due to climate change.
Currently, Morocco has some 148 dams with a capacity of 19.1 billion cubic meters. According to the daily situation of the main large dams, the filling rate is 33.6% on Tuesday April 5, 2022, i.e. a reserve of 5,423.9 million cubic meters (Mm3), against 51% a year before.
That said, the 33.6% filling rate of the dams cannot be fully exploited, as was made clear in March by the Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka (30% of the water stock in the various dams of the Kingdom was unusable due to silt), hence the launch of several operations to control and assess their siltation, in order to identify exactly the quantities of water that can be used and can be stored.
The same minister also underlined, at the beginning of March during a conference held at the ISIC in Rabat, that a rationing of drinking water cannot be ruled out in cities. His department has even launched a major public awareness campaign on the need to save water and the simple things to do to properly consume this important natural resource.
Despite the rain, measures must be taken
This period of drought that we recently went through has opened our eyes to the importance of good management of this natural resource, and above all, of the water tables which represent the country’s strategic water stock.
These aquifers have been overexploited for years by large farmers whose production is largely intended for export. But today, and after its generous rainfall which has given hope to the population, it is time for change since the situation is still not reassuring, believes Mohamed Benata, agricultural engineer, Dr in Geography, President of ESCO, founding member of ECOLOMAN and fervent defender of the environment.
” The situation experienced by Morocco this year should be a lesson for the managers (basin agencies, Ministry of Agriculture, etc.) who have in some way caused this very serious situation for Morocco’s stability and its water security. and food. They have brought us to a very fragile level and I even think that they will have to be held responsible.” maintains the climate expert who has always denounced during meetings and seminars, that Morocco has ” for some years taken an alarmist path with regard to the management of its water resources” .
According to this expert, water is a common good that must be preserved. “It is therefore a public management where the State intervenes, and fortunately it does so, since we cannot leave this vital resource in the hands of farmers who are in competition, and who deplete water resources. , especially groundwater. he explains.
These underground waters, the activist continues, represent Morocco’s water security. ” It is our strategic stock in case the country goes through consecutive years of drought. And Morocco, in its history, experienced this in the 80s, when the country experienced 5 or 6 years of drought” he recalls.
Preserving our groundwater and our water resources is therefore an absolute necessity, believes Benata, imagining the worst scenario of a year of drought that lasts until next year, which we do not hope not.
Thus, the expert believes that this year of drought is a lesson for all Moroccans and decision-makers in the first place. But he maintains, however, that the exceptional program launched by King Mohammed VI aimed at mitigating the effects of the delay in rainfall can limit the damage.
For Benata, this program can ultimately help overcome the situation because there is no question of letting down the small farmer, who has two or three cows that he will have to sell to eat.
While recalling that water is a resource that is not indefinite, but rather calculated and limited, the expert argues that ” the rhythm of the drought in Morocco is likely to increase. This is why the water stock must take into consideration two or three successive years of drought and the depletion of the water table should not be taken lightly”.
Unfortunately today, he laments, and despite the drought, water resources are exploited by large producers to the last drop.