Morocco heading for a sixth year of drought – Minister | ANG
  • May 29, 2024

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Morocco, where agriculture is a crucial sector, is heading for its sixth consecutive year of drought due to a drop in rainfall in recent months linked to climate change, Morocco’s Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, said on Thursday.

“We have entered a critical phase after five consecutive years of drought that our country has never experienced before,” said Mr. Baraka at a press conference.

Rainfall has fallen by 67% in recent months compared with a year considered normal, and “the last three months (from October to December) show that we are heading for another year of drought”, the minister added.

In Morocco, agriculture employs a third of the working-age population and accounts for 14% of the country’s exports.

Water stress in Morocco has been exacerbated by rising temperatures, which have increased water evaporation from dams. The Ministry of Agriculture predicts an average temperature rise of 1.3 degrees Celsius by 2050.

The North African country’s reservoirs are currently only 23.5% full, compared with 31% at the same time last year, which is “a very dangerous situation”, said Mr. Baraka.

“Our hopes are high for the next three months, which are (usually) the rainiest in our country”, he added.

Failing that, local authorities in some regions will have to turn off the water supply, usually at night.

In the face of growing water stress, the authorities are betting on seawater desalination projects, such as the one due to start construction next month in Casablanca, the country’s largest conurbation with over six million inhabitants.

By the end of 2027, Morocco plans to build seven desalination plants with a total capacity of 143 million cubic meters per year.

There are currently 12 desalination plants in the country, with a total capacity of 179.3 million cubic meters per year, according to official data.

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