"We are in an abnormal situation" says Baitas

Government spokesman Mustapha Baitas said Wednesday that Morocco is facing an “abnormal” drought situation. This situation has prompted the government to take several measures to “avoid drinking water cuts”, he said, announcing the list of cities most affected by water shortages and the measures taken.

This subject is of “extreme importance” affirmed the spokesperson for the executive during a question-and-answer session in front of journalists at the end of the government council.

“Are there certain agricultural plantations that are disturbing?… At the moment, we are in a situation, it must be said, abnormal”he acknowledged, referring to the drought that is hitting Morocco, the worst the country has experienced in 40 years.

“There has been close monitoring by the head of government for several months”said the official, adding that there were indicators of this situation for several months in advance.

Mustapha Baitas affirmed that the current government has taken measures to avoid drinking water cuts for households, in response to a question on the possibility of carrying out water cuts or water rationing to save the resources.

He also evaded the question of putting in place solutions for the agricultures which consume the most water and which deplete the groundwater tables of the kingdom, because as a reminder, agriculture consumes 85% of the country’s water resources, according to Mustapha Baitas, while household consumption is only equivalent to 8% of drinking water.

He, however, praised the efforts of the Green Morocco Plan which have made it possible to drastically reduce the consumption of drinking water in agriculture thanks to the use of the drip technique.

The government spokesman assured that to respond to the concerns of Moroccans, the government has set “drinking water (as) a priority”.

Urgent measures have been taken mainly in the hydraulic basins suffering from low water levels, such as in Casablanca, where there will be the connection between Casablanca north and south and there will be water which will be conveyed from the dam of the Moulay Abdellah from Rabat.

In Marrakech, the El Massira dam will be reinforced by the waters of the Ahmed Hansali dams, and that of Bin El Ouidane, the water pumping stations of Oulad Stout and Moulay Ali will be redistributed for Nador, Driouch, Berkane, Saidia and Ras Lma , said Mustapha Baitas, adding that there will be exploratory drilling in several cities such as Oujda and Guercif.

In addition, Morocco will resort to water desalination in several regions. “In the medium term, by 2026, there will be 300 million cubic meters of water for Casablanca, the water desalination stations at Safi, El Jadida and Dakhla, then Nador, Sidi Ifni, Tarfaya and a station for Laâyoune” which is already in an advanced phase, according to the spokesperson.

“In Agadir, the problem was solved thanks to the desalination station located in Chtouka which was created as part of the Green Morocco plan” and which was used to supply agriculture and which was diverted for the consumption of drinking water »he said.

Finally, as part of the system put in place to combat water stress, there will be “the urgent acquisition of mobile groundwater desalination stations and 700 tank trucks to supply 80 centers and 4,930 douars with water”concluded the minister.

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