Morocco needs water management reform

Article Summary
According to a report issued by the National Economic, Social and Environmental Council of Morocco, water resources management is facing major challenges which necessitate immediate reforms.

The report issued by the National Economic, Social and Environmental Council (NESEC) on water management in Morocco insists on the need to thoroughly review the country’s choices on water issues.

There are always suitable words to define major problems. The NESEC proved this in its presentation on March 27, 2014, in Rabat of the report titled “Governance by integrated water resources management in Morocco: fundamental leverage for sustainable development.” This was a non-compromising report, which pointed out that water resources management in Morocco is chaotic. The report indicated that the future looks gloomy in light of increasing demand and a water supply threatened by various factors such as climate change and the depletion or degradation of resources.

Focus on shortage

The report calls for “examining the possibilities of seawater desalination, reuse of treated wastewater, demineralization of brackish water and exploitation of atmospheric humidity.”

Given that the development of such projects is extremely energy-consuming, the NESEC called for consolidating “the synergy between the national water strategy and the national energy strategy by improving the programming and design of renewable energy projects (solar, wind, biomass …) for the development of water resources.” The plan presented by NESEC accorded top priority to water purification. To achieve an 80% water purification objective by 2020, it is necessary to expedite “the implementation of the National Sanitation Plan (NSP) and the National Solid Waste Program (PNDM)” established in 2006 with a budget of 37 billion dirhams [$4.5 billion] and which has seen little progress since then.

The report also blamed water management policies, which are restricted to a specific geographical area and lack a long-term vision. On the institutional level, the NESEC stressed the low decision-making power of some institutions in charge of water in Morocco, such as the High Council for Water and Climate, whose prerogatives must be reinforced as a national authority for consultation, orientation and evaluation of national water policies. Moreover, the inactivity of other entities, such as the Inter-Ministerial Commission of Water, whose last meeting was in 2001, was also an item on the agenda.

Regulate and oversee

The current critical water situation in Morocco is partly due to the lack of updated action and management plans. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the “regularity of updating, validation, publication and implementation of the national strategy and the national and regional plans in terms of water, sewage and wastewater treatment.” Moreover, it is worth mentioning the various violations of the Water Law, which have become so widespread that they are now part of the daily lives of Moroccans.

In conclusion, the NESEC recommends boosting the water police powers in sanctions and means, and establishing effective and efficient coordination with other oversight bodies (environmental inspectors, environmental police and security officers and water and forest agents). To this end, we must review the legislative arsenal, which is currently invalid.

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Found in: water security, water management, water desalination, water, morocco, environment, economy
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