Morocco is the first North African country to invest in desalination projects. Several Arab countries have become aware of the importance of water security in recent years, including Morocco.
The Kingdom is the 6th Arab country to invest in desalination technologies, to produce fresh water from seawater. The country can count on its wide Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts to install several desalination projects in water to ensure its safe drinking water.
According to a 2023 BNC Intelligence report, the Middle East and North Africa account for around 48% of the world’s daily desalinated water production. Currently 39.3 billion dollars are invested in the MENA region in water desalination projects.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the two countries investing the most, given their arid climate and limited water resources. The two countries total $14.58 billion and $10.28 billion in projects, respectively.
After Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, come Jordan, Egypt and Oman at the top of the countries that invest the most in water desalination projects, both for current and future projects.
Morocco comes in 6th position with a total of 2.37 billion dollars invested, ahead of Tunisia with 0.95 billion, Algeria with 0.21 billion and Kuwait with 0.13 billion.
The recent episodes of intense drought experienced in Morocco having plagued agriculture, and the excessive use of groundwater to water crops such as avocado and watermelon, intended for export, has created a worrying situation for households who fear for their food security and water supply in the years to come.
In order to avoid water rationing in households and because water stress has become a chronic reality instead of an episodic one, Morocco has taken the lead in recent months to launch a vast program to install desalination and purification of water in several hotspots for Moroccan agriculture and arid regions to compensate for the lack of drinking water and the worrying drop in the level of dams.
But before these projects were set up, the Moroccan government took emergency decisions to meet the water needs of several regions and cities threatened by the lack of drinking water in households, although the latter represent only a small part of the water used. The Moroccan authorities have indeed decided to divert the flow of several dams and rivers to related towns.
In all, 5 major projects launched or in the launch phase have been retained in this new desalination plant strategy. The projects concern the Greater Casablanca region, the Agadir region, the Oriental, and the Sahara through two stations in Laayoune and Dakhla.
The Greater Casablanca station will be the largest in capacity, and will certainly be the largest in Africa thanks to a capacity of 200 million m3 per year, expandable to 300 million m3. The start of work is scheduled for June 2023.
The projects took into account the immediate and future needs of the Moroccan regions which require these investments, in particular for the region of Agadir considered as the heart of Moroccan agriculture which will also purify waste water, or the region of the Oriental, known for its aridity, same thing for the Sahara which will have two stations on its own with the extension of that of Laayoune and the creation of a station operating solely on green energy in Dakhla.