Morocco, like several other countries in the region, is increasingly threatened by water scarcity. This is due to the increase in water demand combined with the expected decline in water supplies as a result of climate change. Those factors are leading to an increase in water-related costs as access to water resources is becoming more difficult and is requiring more expensive solutions such as raising existing dams, reusing wastewater or desalination of water for coastal areas.
The EU funded Water and Environment Support project will now start supporting Morocco to elaborate strategies for cost recovery and tools in relation to water production. During the kick-off meeting of the third activity which the regional WES project is implementing in Morocco, Mr. Omar Benjelloun, WES Focal Point for Morocco and Director at the Research and Planning Department of the Ministry of Water emphasised during the kick-off meeting that cost recovery is vital for water management in Morocco, especially to be able to finance future solutions to alleviate the water stress of the country through options like desalination.
WES Team Leader professor Michael Scoullos mentioned that the water scarcity which Morocco is suffering from is exacerbated by an increase in the demand of water for domestic and agricultural purposes. Climate change will also lead to a considerable reduction of the water resources. “There are a number of tools that can help us reduce the water stress which includes enhancing the use of new resources, raising awareness on water saving, water harvesting as well as the use of treated waste waters. In order to balance and cover the costs for water production there are three ways to address this. Through transfer and grants, taxes and tariffs. When introducing water tariffs issues of efficiency, equity and effectiveness are pivotal. With this new WES activity, we aim to come up with a useful plan for Morocco” the WES Team Leader said.
Harm-Jan Raad, the WES expert leading this activity from consortium partner Rambøll Danmark A/S, will start the project with an analysis of the tariff system currently used, followed by an evaluation of different tools to recover water costs. The final result will be the formulation of a strategy for an enhanced recovery of water costs. Mr. Jacques Legros of the EU Delegation to Morocco ended the meeting by stating that the introduction of appropriate water tariffs will also help us to preserve water for the coming generations.