Morocco’s water scarcity problems have been acknowledged by the Moroccan Court of Accounts which has made recommendations for new measures to tackle the problem in its newly released annual audit report.
The agency acknowledges progress already made to proactively address the decline in water resources. However, it reiterates that Morocco is among the world’s 20 most water-stressed countries and emphasizes that the average Moroccan has access to 550 litres of water per year. The United Nations recommends a minimum of 1,200 litres per person per year.
It points out that climate change is affecting water resources throughout the country and it encourages the use of integrated water management techniques to preserve resources. Of the available surface and underground water in Morocco, 88% is used in irrigation leaving only 12% for everything else.
In light of the country’s chronic water scarcity, the government audit and accounting agency suggests that “the country needs to overcome several shortcomings aiming to tackle the challenges associated with the mobilisation, appreciation and preservation of water resources as well as the planning, organisation and funding of the water sector.”
The agency’s report addressed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water, and Forests, specifically, to accelerate local irrigation programs and to complete the construction of new dams and related agricultural facilities. It urges the ministry to consider the “water/energy/agriculture” triangle when setting priorities and policies. It called on the Ministry of Equipment and Water to rationalise the allocation of financial resources related to the water sector. The also suggests improvement in the effectiveness of the investments by adopting innovative financing mechanisms.
More generally, the audit recommends the implementation of projects to connect water reservoirs to enable a more flexible management of the available water throughout the territory. Additional attention should be paid to the protection of dam water against siltation, greater usage of non-conventional sources of water such as desalinisation and re-use of wastewater, among others.
The report calls for improved governance: more accurate measurement of consumption, strengthened accountability and penalties for polluters, a review of the water and sanitation tariff system.
A comprehensive review of SDG 6 by the United Nations indicates that only 36% of Morocco’s domestic wastewater is treated and only 39% of the population uses a safely managed sanitation service. As reported in The water Diplomat, Morocco’s water and water management challenges are expected to increase due to the effects of climate change.