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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UN-Water Summit: Minister Baraka Presents Morocco’s Experience in Water Stress Management

The Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, presented, Thursday in Paris, during the UN-Water World Summit on Groundwater, the various “structural and anticipatory” measures implemented by Morocco to manage water deficits related to climate change.

During a session on regional dialogues, Mr. Baraka, also president of the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), stressed that Morocco is undertaking a series of measures for the management of water stress, which currently affects several countries, including the use of alternative conventional and non-conventional water resources to relieve the pressure on groundwater.

The use of non-conventional water resources is favored in particular by the desalination of sea water and the reuse of treated wastewater, for more resilience to the effects of climate change, he said.

In detail, the Minister noted that the kingdom, which currently has 149 large dams, with a storage capacity of 19 billion m3, with the hope of reaching 24 billion by 2030, has started a major desalination project, which will exceed one billion m3 desalinated to meet the needs of coastal areas.

The management of water resources also involves the reuse of wastewater, he said, citing the example of Rabat which maintains “its green lung” with the program of reuse of treated wastewater.

“We will move from the equivalent of 140 million m3 by 2025 of wastewater reuse to reach 340 million m3 by 2030,” said the minister.

Baraka also referred to the achievement of Morocco in the use of the technique of drip in agriculture. “We are already at 700,000 hectares that have been converted to drip with the goal of one million hectares by 2026.”

The Minister also mentioned the groundwater replenishment technique, through the search for artificial water tables via small dams, or the preservation of these water resources, through the Agencies of water basins, which implement contracts with users, to ensure the sustainability of these resources.

In addition, he said that 19 Arab countries are in a situation of water shortage with less than 500 m3 per capita, explaining that this situation is aggravated by high population growth, pollution, but also by climate change.

On the sidelines of this second day of the Summit, the Minister had a series of meetings with several officials, including the Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, the former Mauritanian minister and new Commissioner of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS), Mohamed Ouled Abdelfattah, the President of the Executive Board of UNESCO (Ambassador Permanent Delegate of Serbia to UNESCO), Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili, and the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Rola Dashti.

These meetings, which took place in the presence of the Ambassador-Delegate of Morocco to UNESCO, Samir Addahre, have allowed to exchange on the problem of water and solutions to implement, to present the progress of Morocco in the preservation of groundwater and to highlight the adherence of Morocco to the alliance of transboundary waters, which is a vector for sustainable development and peace.

Organized in partnership with UNESCO and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), the UN-Water Summit aims to draw attention to groundwater at the highest international level, culminating in the campaign “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible” implemented by the UN-Water Task Force.

This two-day event uses the groundwater-focused World Water Development Report 2022 (WWDR 2022) as a reference, and the Global Framework for Accelerating MDG6 as a guideline to define actions towards more responsible and sustainable use and protection of this vital natural resource. It will unify the declarations of all major groundwater-related events into a message for the 2023 UN Water Conference.

The Summit brings together some 3,000 people from around the world, including representatives of UNESCO’s 193 member states, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, according to organizers.

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