Moroccan Dams at 25% as Country Struggles with Drought

By Diogo Augusto

7 Oct 2022 by The Water Diplomat

The worst drought Morocco has seen in 30 years has brought reservoir levels down to an average of 25%, as compared to 40% this time last year. The Kingdom’s Ministry of Water and Logistics, which had declared in July that the country was in a “state of water emergency”, announced that currently a mere only four billion m³ of water were available as against a maximum capacity of 16 billion m³

Recent data shows that while the Alwahda dam, the country’s largest, is at 43.5% capacity (comparing with 63.6% last year), others like Al Massira, the second largest, have much lower levels with Asl Massira dam itself currently at 3.3% capacity (compared to 9,8% last year). These alarming figures for the country’s 62 dams are caused by historically low rainfall during the last year. This, in addition to particularly high temperatures has also caused a series of wildfires in Morocco recently.

The lack of water has hit the agricultural sector particularly hard with yield going down as the government imposes water rationing. Mr. Nizar Baraka, Morocco’s Minister of Equipment and Water, stated: “Water today has become scarce, and every drop is very important. Thus, responsible and rational consumption of water has become a citizen's act and a sign of national solidarity.”

Car wash establishments are being closed throughout the countries as the use of potable water for this kind of activity has been forbidden since early August. Morocco has been struggling with drought and scorching heat with even the Moroccan Court of Accounts having weighed in acknowledging the economic impact of water scarcity and demanding immediate action.