The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, Mohamed Seddiqi, confirmed that the Ministry is studying several irrigation projects that concern a number of regions.
He explained in his answer to a pivotal question during the oral question session in the House of Councilors on “creating seawater desalination plants,” presented on his behalf by the Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of relations with Parliament, Mustafa Paytas, that these areas mainly relate to the irrigation area in Sidi Rahal, which is linked to a water desalination plant. The sea in Casablanca, which, in addition to supplying the city of Casablanca with drinking water, will provide water to irrigate an area of 8 thousand hectares in the Sidi Rahal region.
These areas also include, according to the minister, the watering area in Tan-Tan, on an area of 5,000 hectares, and about 70,000 hectares in each of the regions of Sharq, Guelmim, Tiznit, Essaouira, Chichaoua, Oualidia and Boujdour.
Mr. Siddiqi said that the agricultural sector “is facing great water stress, the severity of which is increasing due to the increased demand for water on the one hand and the effects of climate change and recurring droughts on the other hand,” noting that, with the exception of the Lokos and Sebo basins, irrigation areas have witnessed strict restrictions and interruptions of water supplies over several years. .
On the occasion, he reviewed the Ministry’s strategy for irrigating 104,000 hectares with seawater desalination, within the framework of implementing the Green Generation Strategy and the National Program for Providing Drinking Water and Irrigation 2020-2027.
He revealed that the Ministry built the first seawater desalination plant in the Souss-Massa region to protect the early production area in Chtouka, on an area of 15 thousand hectares.
The Minister highlighted that this project aims, on the one hand, to ensure the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in the Shtouka region, which is the most important supplier of vegetables to the national market, especially tomatoes, and contributes 90 percent of its exports. He explained that this station has been operating since December 2022 in a first phase, through… Supplying the greater city of Agadir with potable water with a capacity of 150,000 cubic meters per day.
On the other hand, the Minister indicated that the high-value-added early production area had been irrigated with a capacity of 125 thousand cubic meters per day, adding that in a second phase, the process of expanding the station would begin to reach a capacity of 400 thousand cubic meters per day to confront water stress in the Souss-Massa Basin. . He also pointed out that this station has been operating for the joint production of desalinated water for irrigation and drinking purposes since December 2022.
On a second level, Mr. Seddiqi reported that the Ministry also established a seawater desalination plant powered by renewable energy in the Bir Anzeran community in the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, in partnership between the public and private sectors, in order to irrigate 104 thousand hectares with seawater desalination.
The Minister noted that this project, which adopted an innovative approach, is based on irrigating 5,000 hectares and supplying the city of Dakhla and its suburbs with potable water, highlighting that its cost amounts to 2.5 billion dirhams, of which 1.53 billion dirhams are state support.
The government official continued that this project will enable the contribution to preserving the watershed and the production of about 500,000 tons of seeds, with an added value estimated at about 500 million dirhams per year, and will also enable the creation of about 10,000 permanent jobs, pointing out that it is expected that the station will begin operating. And the irrigation network in June 2025.