The first phase of Morocco’s waterway, connecting the water-rich Sebou Basin with the drought-hit Oum Rbia area, will be operational this summer to ensure steady supply to some 12 million people, Morocco’s water minister said.
Speaking to MPs, minister Nizar Baraka said at a first phase, water will be channeled through 67km from Sebou basin to Bouregreg basin at the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah dam which supplies Rabat and Casablanca.
Afterwards, the water will be pumped to Oum Rabia basin where agriculture has suffered a halt of irrigation after the region’s major dam went nearly dry, barely sufficient to supply drinking water for the region’s main cities.
Available water at al Massira dam that supplies Casablanca and adjacent cities dropped to 124 million cubic meters from a total storage capacity of 2660 million cubic meters with the city’s water consumption amounting to 129 million cubic meters annually, the minister said.
The project would also help offset delays in desalination projects, notably in Casablanca which is expected to switch on its desalination plant in 2027 instead of 2016.
The waterway was meant to prevent water from being wasted at sea, Baraka said, noting that the country has lost more than 6.5 billion cubic meters of fresh water thrown into the sea in the past 5 years.
Morocco has announced a 2020-2027 plan to which $14 bln have been allocated in total to build desalination plants and dams while improving supply in rural areas.