Home » A report addressing water stress in light of the “irrigation system” in Morocco

A report addressing water stress in light of the “irrigation system” in Morocco

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A report addressing water stress in light of the “irrigation system” in Morocco

Studies, reports and analyzes regarding water stress in Morocco are still trickling in, as a recently issued report by the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis shed light on the reality of the irrigation system in Morocco, which is usually linked to the exacerbation of the problem of water scarcity in the Kingdom.

The report noted that “Morocco is currently experiencing a water scarcity crisis, but this crisis is not caused by household or industrial consumption, which consume 20 percent of mobilized water resources. Rather, it is closely related to the nature of water uses in the field of irrigation, where 80 percent is consumed.” of water resources in Morocco annually.

The same source explained that “the water and agricultural policies adopted over the past two decades have contributed to ensuring food security for Moroccans, while at another level they have produced winners and losers; The winners are the commercial contractors and large farmers, while the losers are the traditional farmers who depend on rainwater and groundwater to irrigate their lands and water their livestock.”

He highlighted that “irrigation policies, whether previous or current, are considered unbalanced policies because rural and economic development requires a comprehensive approach, while currently, in the context of structural drought and climate change, the export of water has been preferred at the expense of subsistence farmers, at a time when the policies applied exacerbate water scarcity.” “That affects the weak first.”

The report published on the platform of the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis indicated that “the agricultural plan in force since 2008 divided the agricultural sector into two parts: the first concerns large farmers, for whom 75 billion dirhams have been allocated for projects directed to them.” The second is represented by small farmers in semi-arid regions, for whom 20 billion dirhams have been allocated for projects directed to benefit them.”

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The same document criticized “the national agricultural policy’s tendency to focus largely on developing export-oriented agriculture through the establishment of high-yielding plant chains or groups that consume high water, at a time when the grain sector remains unstable given its heavy dependence on rain.” .

She pointed out that “the agricultural water model that Morocco has built is unequal, as water stored within multiple and expensive hydraulic systems is exported in the form of citrus and vegetables, while small farmers have to deal with the consequences of lack of rain and depleted groundwater reservoirs, and thus the irrigation policies followed remain ineffective.” It serves food security, given that 90 percent of the areas cultivated with grains, for example, are rainfed areas.”

The same source linked agricultural policies to social disparities, as he pointed out that “the watermelon cultivation projects that were approved and the lack of irrigation equipment led to inequality in the use of water. For example, the watermelon cultivation projects in Zagora resulted in the drying of the water bed in the region, which led to led to the outbreak of thirst protests in the region.”

He added, “The authority’s approval of these projects that financially benefit a certain social group while endangering the safety of another group by cutting off water creates legitimate social anger and leads to an actual lack of confidence in the public authorities, who then resort to approving emergency plans.”

The report recommended “adopting comprehensive and sustainable policies that also meet the livelihood needs of farmers by protecting their livelihoods, especially in rain-fed areas, from drought threats, as well as moving towards increasing financial and technical support for rainwater harvesting projects launched by farmers.”

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In the same context, he also called for investing in crops that are adapted to the semi-arid and arid climate instead of the climate that requires abundant water, in addition to moving towards investing in alternative water resources such as the use of treated wastewater and water desalination to reduce dependence on rain.

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