In recent years, the Kingdom has multiplied the construction of wastewater treatment plants and seawater desalination plants. The strategy is beginning to bear fruit in this context of the depletion of water resources.
Morocco is developing several alternatives such as the reuse of wastewater to curb this shortage. It is an effort that has resulted in the construction of 153 urban wastewater treatment plants since the launch of the National Liquid Sanitation Plan (PNA) in 2006, most of which is the work of the National Office of Electricity and Water (ONEE).
These sites have a treatment capacity of 3.4 million cubic meters per day, including sea outfalls. Alongside the PNA, the government has set up the National Shared Sanitation Program (PNAM) to promote the reuse of this treated water, particularly in rural areas. Today, 46 organized and controlled wastewater reuse projects have been completed or are in progress at the national level.
Alongside these programs, the Kingdom has looked into another even more ambitious alternative: the desalination of seawater. Projects in this area have flourished in recent years. Nine stations are already operational, the latest, that of Laayoune, carried out by ONEE and which entered into service in October 2022. With a treatment capacity of 26,000 m3/day, this site, at a cost of 450 million dirhams, will make it possible to satisfy the drinking water needs of the inhabitants of the region. Five other stations are under construction.
Treated wastewater exploited in green spaces irrigation
The kingdom of Morocco is one of the countries that are affected by global warming. The phenomenon of drought is now a structural feature of Morocco's climatological regime. Hence, the kingdom of Morocco is giving importance to providing concrete and innovative solutions in this area. One of them is the reuse of treated wastewater.
Under the effect of climate change, drought and the scarcity of water resources are now setting in and posing the threat of inflation and food shortages on a global scale. Moreover, HM King Mohammed VI did not fail to mention the problem of water stress in his speech delivered on the occasion of the opening of the first session of the second legislative year of the eleventh legislature, on Friday 14 October 2022.
The Sovereign has underlined that the current state of water resources challenges the government, institutions and citizens more than ever.
He demands of us a duty of truth and responsibility in our actions to remedy the weaknesses and shortcomings that it reveals, the king insisted.
The reuse of treated wastewater, which will allow the watering of large green spaces, has already been adopted in Rabat. It will then be generalized throughout the conurbation of Rabat-Salé-Témara-Skhirat. During the last 30 years, Morocco has been confronted with more than 20 dry periods, 3 of which lasted 4 consecutive years. Moreover, the volume of drinking water in the kingdom has continued to decrease, falling from 2,560 m3 in 1960 to 620 m3 in 2020. To this end, and in accordance with the Moroccan King Mohamed VI guidelines, Morocco has turned to natural resources, and unconventional water resources, including the use of treated wastewater for irrigation.
This project will make it possible to preserve natural water resources, enhance the potential of wastewater available in the area and reduce the flow of residual pollution discharged into the receiving environments. It will also make it possible to accelerate the implementation of industrial domestic depollution projects in order, on the one hand, to increase the water potential of reusable wastewater, and on the other hand to ensure the sustainability and quality of this purified wastewater, in particular against the risk induced by industrial pollution.
Four million m3 of drinking water saved annually
Director of the Industrial Pole at the National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) - Water sector, Abdellah Jahid, explained that the reuse of treated wastewater to irrigate green spaces in Rabat is an exemplary project, noting that this city has become a pioneer in this area because all its green areas, including the Golf Royal Dar Salam, are watered with this treated water. Mr. Jahid declared that this project has saved nearly 4 million cubic meters per year of drinking water, between 2021 and 2022, noting that this volume corresponds to the needs of the cities of Ain Aouda and Tamesna with drinking water.
The official explains that the region's wastewater comes from four main sources. These are the Ain Aouda wastewater treatment plant, which produces approximately 10,000 cubic meters per day, and the Tamesna wastewater treatment plant, which produces 6,000 cubic meters per day, in addition to two water production plants, drinking water plants in Bouregreg and Oum Azza.
Hassan II park: a green gem maintained thanks to treated wastewater
The Hassan II park, maintained through the reuse of treated wastewater, represents a real space of relaxation for the inhabitants of Rabat. Located in the heart of the capital over an area of 32 hectares, it allows residents to find themselves far from the stress of everyday life.
The Hassan II park is a strong illustration of the use of alternatives available to Morocco to prevent the lack of water from constituting an obstacle to its socioeconomic development this. This green space is maintained through the reuse of treated wastewater and is a real example that can be duplicated in the context of drought and scarcity of water resources all over Morocco.
The reuse of treated wastewater for the irrigation of the park of Hassan II has been managed by the city of Rabat managers to avoid the waste of the resource of water.