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Water in Morocco
Photo 1: Casablanca, Morocco. (Source : Javier Cebrian, Flicker)

Contributors

Author: The Editorial team of Fanack water
Reviewer: Dr. Jauad El Kharraz is Head of Research at the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), Oman. He is member of Oman Water Society and Secretary General of Arab World Association of Young Scientists (ArabWAYS). He works on topics related to water management, desalination technologies, renewable energies and water-energy-food nexus among others.

Introduction to water in Morocco

Morocco’s water resources are under increasing pressure from population and industrial growth, irrigated agriculture, urbanization, tourism, climate change, overexploitation of aquifers and deteriorating water quality.[1] The country is indexed at 4.2 on a scale of 5, putting it ‘at extreme risk’ in terms of water availability.[2]

map water in Morocco
Map 1: Map of Morocco.

Geography and climate

Morocco is located in north-western Africa and bordered by Algeria to the east, Mauritania to the south, the Mediterranean to the north-east and the Atlantic to the west (Map 1).[3] Covering a total area of 710,850 km2, Morocco is geographically diverse. Its rich soil and mild climate have resulted in thriving local agriculture sectors.

That being said, the climate varies considerably from north to south, and both the rainfall and temperature are strongly influenced by the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert. The most rainfall occurs between October and May.[4] The rainfall variability in northern and central Morocco is illustrated in Map 2.[5] Higher annual precipitation occurs in the mountainous areas of the north-west, in the Loukkos river basin, Tangier and the Mediterranean coast, at more than 1,000 millimetres per year (mm/yr). Conversely, precipitation is less than 300 mm/yr in the Moulouya, Tensift, Souss-Massa and South Atlas basins. In the sub-Saharan region, it is even lower, at less than 100 mm/yr.[6]

Rainfall- Morocco water in Morocco
Map 2: . Mean annual precipitation in northern and central Morocco. Source: International Journal of Climatology.

Population

In 2017, the population of Morocco was around 35.7 million, with an annual growth rate of 1.3%. The population is composed of Arabs, Berbers and Sahrawi. Figure 1 shows the population growth between 1960 and 2017.[7] In 2015, 60% of the population lived in urban areas, a figure projected to reach 74% by 2050.[8]

Figure 1. Population growth (Millions) in Morocco between 1960 and 2017. Source: World Bank.

Economy

The gross domestic product (GDP) increased from $30.2 billion to $109.1 billion between 1990 and 2017, with a growth rate of 4.1% in 2017.[9] GDP per capita is estimated at $2,944.[10] The industrial sector is responsible for 26% of GDP, whereas agriculture represents 13%, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Morocco’s GDP profile between 1990 and 2017. Source: FAO AQUASTAT.

Year 1990200020102017
GDP (current $) (billions)30.238.993.2109.1
GDP growth (annual %)3.41.93.84.1
Agriculture, forestry and fishing (% of GDP)15121313
Industry (including construction) (% of GDP)28272626
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)25273237
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)30324347