Rabat - HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, presided, Monday at the Royal Palace in Rabat, over the signing ceremony of the framework agreement for the implementation of the 2020-2027 National Program for drinking and irrigation water supply, worth around 115.4 billion dirhams.
This agreement specifies the conditions and methods of implementing and financing this program which aims at consolidating and diversifying the sources of drinking water supply, supporting demand for this invaluable source, guaranteeing water security and combating the effects of climate change.
On this occasion, Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water Abdelkader Amara gave a speech before HM the King in which he stressed that this integrated program, developed pursuant to the royal directives and in consideration of the water situation in the Kingdom and studies on this issue, touches on five main broad lines.
According to the Minister, the program concerns improving water supply, notably by building dams (61 bln MAD), managing demand and developing water mainly in the agricultural sector (25,1 bln MAD), strengthening drinking water supply in rural areas (26.9 bln MAD), reusing treated wastewater in the irrigation of green areas (2.3 bln MAD), and boosting communication and awareness-raising concerning the importance of preserving water resources and rationalizing their use (50 million dirhams).
The financing of this program is finalized, said the minister, adding that it will be funded up to 60% by the general budget of the State, 39% by the stakeholders concerned, particularly the National Office of Electricity and drinking water (ONEE), and the rest as part of the public-private partnership.
He also noted that the monitoring of the implementation of the said program will be ensured by a steering committee chaired by the Head of Government, a technical commission chaired by the Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water and regional commissions chaired by the walis of the regions.
On the issue of improving water supply, the program provides for the construction of 20 large dams with a storage capacity of 5.38 billion m3, with a budget of 21.91 billion dirhams, said Amara, noting that the construction of these new dams will bring the overall storage capacity of the Kingdom to 27.3 billion m3.
The Minister also assured that an inventory had been made, at the level of the various regions of the Kingdom, of 909 sites likely to house small dams and hill dams, recalling that the Kingdom has currently 130 small dams and that 20 similar dams are under construction.
Amara assured that the said National Program also involves the exploration of groundwater with a view to mobilizing new resources, as well as the construction of new seawater desalination stations which will be an addition to those already operational in Laayoune, Boujdour, Tan Tan and Akhfenir.
Amara recalled that two desalination stations are under construction in Agadir and Al Hoceima and three others are scheduled in Casablanca, Dakhla and Safi.
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Waters and Forests Aziz Akhannouch said that, in accordance with the High Royal Instructions relating to the continuation of the water saving program in the agricultural sector, the 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply will concern, in its section relating to the supply of irrigation water, an overall area of 510,000 ha and will benefit 160,000 farmers.
This section, which mobilizes investments worth 14.7 billion dirhams, touches in particular to the continuation of the national program for irrigation water saving which will have to mobilize a budget of nearly 9.5 billion dirhams, and aims to convert traditional irrigation systems into drip irrigation systems, based on the positive results achieved by the Green Morocco Plan, which has enabled to bring the drip irrigation equipped lands to 585,000 Ha (100,000 beneficiary farmers).
Akhannouch said that there are plans to equip an additional 350,000 ha with drip irrigation under the new program.
According to the Minister, it will also involve the continuation of the hydro-agricultural development project for the safeguard of the Saiss plain, the development and modernization project for small and medium-sized irrigation areas, and the launch of the hydro-agricultural development project in the Southeast region from the Gharb plain.
Speaking on this occasion, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit stressed that the 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply aims to generalize the drinking water supply for the rural zone and to fight precariousness in some regions, particularly during periods of drought.
He said that the measures relating to this aspect concern the rural centers, stressing that 659 centers will be provided for within this framework, for 5 bln MAD, which will allow the generalization of individual connections to all rural centers.
The minister also added that 7,876 villages will be programmed under these measures, for an amount estimated at 9.68 bln MAD, which will enable the generalization of the drinking water supply to all villages in the Kingdom.
Regarding the issue of drinking water saving, Laftit said that the program aims to improve the output of distribution networks in cities and urban centers by 78% by 2027, with a saving of nearly 207 million m3 of water, the optimization of investments relating to water infrastructure, the guarantee of the continued supply of drinking water and the improvement of the quality of services.
With regard to the reuse of treated wastewater, Laftit said that a national integrated liquid sanitation program has been adopted in urban and rural areas and the reuse of treated wastewater, which sets the goals of carrying out liquid sanitation projects for the benefit of 128 cities and urban centers and equipping 1,207 rural centers with a sanitation network, as well as the reuse of treated wastewater in the irrigation of green areas have been applied.
The first phase of the said 2020-2027 program will mobilize 100 million m3/year by 2027, through the completion of 87 projects, including 22 for the irrigation of golf courses.
Subsequently, HM the King presided over the signing of the framework agreement for the implementation of the 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water Supply. It was signed by Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit, Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform Mohamed Benchaaboun, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water Abdelkader Amara, Minister of Energy, Mining and Environment Aziz Rabbah, and director general of the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water Abderrahim El Hafidi.
The signing ceremony was also attended by the head of government, HM the King's advisors, and government members.