vital resilience in the face of climatic and economic shocks

The Kingdom is one of the countries most affected in the world by water stress. Water resources in Morocco are more limited than ever. Their volume has steadily decreased drastically in recent years, putting the agricultural sector to the test, thus threatening the country’s food security.

The actual volume of water stored in the country’s main dams today is minus 4 billion cubic meters. It is at 3.8 billion cubic meters, while the overall filling rate was only around 23.8%, compared to 37.7% at the same period last year and 62.1% in 2018 , thus threatening water security in some river basins and leading the authorities to adopt emergency measures. If some hope on the current or future rainfall to hope for an improvement in the situation of the dams, we are far from the mark at less than a miracle year before returning at least to the level of 2018.

Jesko Hentschel, director of operations of the World Bank for the Maghreb and Malta affirmed last July that “Recent events have shown that technical solutions are no longer sufficient to protect the economy against climate shocks and highlight the need for complementary policies, such as those outlined in the New Development Model (NMD), which would help to keep account of the true value of water resources and to encourage more efficient and responsible uses“.

The analysis of these effects of droughts and water shortages on Morocco’s macroeconomic situation indicates that the Moroccan economy, after a sustained recovery in 2021, is marking time with a marked slowdown in 2022 (expected growth rate of 1.3% in 2022 compared to 7.9% in 2021). The consequences of the drought, aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine, testify to Morocco’s exposure to climatic and economic shocks.

The latter, which are undeniably linked to low rainfall, have always been a factor of macroeconomic volatility in Morocco. Droughts were once followed by a strong recovery and did not hamper the robust and long-term growth of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP). Except that with 3 years out of the past four and a mediocre rainy season, the Kingdom has experienced unparalleled water stress, which could have a strong impact on our economy in the long term.

All this pushes the Kingdom to support its efforts to develop infrastructure, policies and water demand management that encourage the sustainable, efficient and equitable use of its water resources. Yesterday Wednesday, the Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch chaired on Wednesday, in Rabat, the third meeting of the steering committee of the National Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation Program (PNAEPI) for the period 2020-2027. The funds allocated to it have increased from 115 to 150 billion dirhams, the government having ensured in this context to accelerate the pace of investments in this area and to strengthen the credits dedicated to the program.

The government meeting devoted to the examination of a series of draft resolutions and recommendations, and where Aziz Akhannouch affirmed the government’s desire to accelerate the implementation of the PNAEPI, by “emphasizing the rigor and the spirit of responsibility” of the executive “in the face of all forms of waste and anarchic exploitation of water resources”, notwithstanding all the rest of the content of the meeting, has everything from the basis of a decision of collective conscience to guarantee water security in the Kingdom.

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