The Moroccan Democratic Authority for Human Rights (IDMDH) deplores and expresses its great apprehension about the deplorable conditions in which the biological site of the Moulouya estuary is located. Indeed, the IDMDH strongly denounced the procrastination which led to the deterioration of this biological site which is the Moulouya estuary, of global importance for birds and biodiversity.
The IDMDH rebels
The Authority, which joins the positions on this, of the various environmental associations and other organizations defending nature in the east of the Kingdom, deplores that the conditions are only getting worse in the total absence of institutions, administrations and competent authorities as well as the development of a general policy for the sustainable management of natural elements, despite the availability of mechanisms to remedy the situation and restore the flow of water to its natural state.
Faced with this situation, the IDMDH “Calls on the institutions concerned to assume their responsibility and fulfill their duty to face this environmental catastrophe by providing mechanisms and human and material resources to preserve this natural heritage, which is of great importance at the national and international levels,” by limiting urban sprawl at the expense of wetlands, and protecting the downstream side from liquid and solid pollution ”.
The mouth of the Moulouya for “Dummies”
From this mouth of the once prosperous Moulouya region which was the pride of its inhabitants, Ramsar said at the beginning of this century (2005) that it was the most important estuary and floodplain complex of the largest Mediterranean river. of the Maghreb, this site includes five systems: marine, estuarine, lake, fluvial and palustrine, in addition to the coastal dunes. It is an obligatory stopover, given the aridity of the surroundings, for European migratory birds which find refuge in the plant system of Tamarix.
Some endemic and rare fish that could also be found in wetlands, which are used as spawning and growing areas during migrations tend to disappear. The site is also important for its floodwater storage, which helps lower salinity levels in groundwater.
This area has great aesthetic value and ecotourism potential. An area of the estuary is dedicated to the rearing of juvenile eels, while rare agricultural fields and pastoral activities still take place in parts of the estuary. The main threats include loss of wetland habitats, transformation of natural habitats into aquaculture ponds, changes in water balance and water quality due to agriculture, aquaculture, solid waste and reduction in flood flows, loss of biodiversity and aesthetic value.
Its area is estimated at over 4,500 hectares. By signing the Ramsar Convention, Morocco has made a commitment to defend and protect these wetlands. Unfortunately, this wetland has undergone many developments and the creation of many infrastructures which have negatively affected its natural heritage and its hydrographic network. So much for the presentation. What about today ?
Protection of the ecosystems and biosphere of the site in question
For the activist Mohamed Benata, Agricultural Engineer, Dr in Geography, President of ESCO, founding member of ECOLOMAN and fervent defender of the environment, everything had been said through a petition filed with the President of the Region of ‘Oriental dated November 10, 2020 and has remained a dead letter ever since. ” we asked to preserve the ecological flow of the Oued Moulouya and protect the ecosystems and the biosphere of the biological site of the mouth of the Moulouya so that it can effectively recover its roles on the natural and socio-economic level and this in strict compliance with provisions of Royal Decree No. 8.15.83 of 20 Ramadan 1436 (July 7, 2015) “.
In vain it seems since the degradation is going its train like the flow of the course of the wadi. ” The biological site of the mouth of the Moulouya suffers from serious shortages such as that of water resources, due to the decline in the flow of the Oued Moulouya year after year, due to the pumping of its water (Moulay pumping station Ali, Ouled Setoute pumping station, pumping station of the tourist resort of Saïdia.…) And storage in the many dams at its highest levels (Machraa Hammadi dam, Mohammed V dam, Laghras dam, Hassan II dam … ) “.
For the activist, this water scarcity will be exacerbated and intensified in the near future due to the continued implementation of projects focused mainly on the process of pumping running water from the Oued on the one hand and the construction of dams on the other hand (the Saf Saf dam, the Targa Guercif dam, the Béni Azimane dam in Driouch, and the extension of the Mohammed V dam). ” These completed projects have certainly met the needs of certain areas of the Moulouya basin, in terms of water demand for various uses, but they have also produced a series of violations of international conventions and laws, and damage and negative impacts, especially at social and environmental levels “.
Violations of international and internal conventions
And Mohamed Benata to continue “they are in violation of international conventions signed and ratified by Morocco such as the international treaty for the preservation of wetlands known as“ Ramsar ”as well as that for the conservation of biological diversity. Locally, they are in violation of article 31 of the 2011 Constitution, which provides for the right of access to water, to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development as well as of the National Environmental Charter and of Sustainable Development (framework law 99-12), that of the law of the impact on the environment (12-03), of the law on water (36-15), of the law on protected areas (22-07), Law 29-05 relating to the protection of endangered plant and animal species, the national strategy for the conservation and management of wetlands and the national water strategy “.
Too much demanded, the impressive Moulouya wadi is found with a low level of fresh water from the groundwater that feeds the extension of the mouth, which has led to a high frequency of its drying, and this problem is evident in several areas like the Moulouya estuary. In addition, in view of climate change which has intensified in recent years, the water crisis has worsened both in quantity and quality, and has reached unprecedented levels, which has made it difficult to meet demand. in water for various uses. And Mohamed Benata to deplore ” Morocco is nevertheless considered among the pioneer countries in the field of environmental protection. It has hosted several world events “.
Through these data, it appears that the Water Plan for the Oriental region 2020/2027 does not respect the general policy in accordance with the political will of the Moroccan government and its obligations and international commitments which aim to preserve nature and wetlands and their biodiversity.