Regional Knowledge Network on Water


Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a North-western African country, located between the Atlantic Ocean (to the west) and the Mediterranean Sea (to the northeast). It is border by Algeria to the east, Mauritania to the South and Spain to the North. This location yields a great spatial temporal climate variation with rainfall ranging from less than 25 mm per year in the desert planes in the South to more than 2,000 mm per year in the North, which is almost 7.3% of the land of Morocco and provides more than 51% of all water supplies. The renewable water resources in Morocco is estimated at about 22 billion m³ per year and is recharged by surface water (10.9 billion m³) and groundwater (3.4 billion m³).

Water resources characterized by its scarcity and irregularity as a result of frequent periodic dry spells are under increasing pressure from increased populations and the extension of irrigated agriculture, urban industrial and tourism development activities. The annual per capita share of water is less than 720 m³ per year, which is already stressed and in constant regression.

While irrigated agriculture is the main user of water in Morocco, the situation is of particular concern in rural areas where drinking water deficit is recorded and most of the people are below the poverty line. The rural population depends on non-irrigated agriculture for living, which have limited crop potential due to climate change and soil erosion.

These pressures on water resources go hand in hand with the increasing deterioration in water quality. The pollution caused by the concentration of activities in some areas is exceeding the water system's capacity to purify and renew itself. For example, irrigation canals leaking are costing almost 40% of water and potable water pipes leaking in cities are costing 35% of the water in the system. Another of the country's pressing environmental problems is flooding due to climate change. In recent years several regions have been hit by abnormally heavy rains and snow, and the resulting floods caused are costing human lives.

A new, integrated approach to development is needed in the region as a whole, one that takes account of economic requirements, social equality, respect for the environment, cultural diversity, and which promotes the participation of local populations in development.

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