By Ebi Kesiena
Morocco is on the brink of entering its sixth consecutive year of drought, coupled with a diminishing water supply attributed to a decline in rainfall linked to soaring temperatures, as stated by the country’s Minister of Water on Thursday.
Nizar Baraka, in a press conference, expressed deep concern, saying, “We have entered a critical phase after five years in a row of drought, which our country has never experienced before.”
Drought has been a major concern for Morocco, whose agricultural sector employs about one-third of Morocco’s working age and accounts for 14% of exports, according to authorities.
The last three months “showed that we are heading into another drought year, God forbid,” Baraka said, noting that rainfall had dropped 67% below the average for that period of the year.
Water scarcity is exacerbated by warmer temperates which increase evaporation in dams. The agriculture ministry forecasts average temperatures rising 1.3 degrees Celsius by 2050.
Morocco’s dams are currently filled only to 23.5%, down from 31% at the same time last year, Baraka said, decrying “a very dangerous situation.”
But he said he was hopeful “because the next three months (are usually) the rainiest in our country.”
Local authorities might still need to cut off water supply temporarily, Baraka said.
In the face of water scarcity, authorities have been betting on seawater desalination.
Morocco plans to build seven desalination stations with a total capacity of 143 million cubic meters annually by the end of 2027.
According to official data, there are currently 12 desalination stations in the country with a total capacity of 179.3 million cubic meters annually.
The construction of a station in Casablanca, the country’s largest city with 6 million inhabitants, is set to begin next month.