New Desalination Plant in Morocco to Be Operational by 2035
Dry winters have emptied reservoirs that supply homes and irrigate Morocco's key agricultural sector, shrinking harvests, threatening a migration from the countryside and prompting tough restrictions on water use in cities.
Although smaller desalination plants had already been operating in Morocco for years, the one that started working in Agadir is by far the country's biggest, and the first intended to address reduced rainfall.
That early assessment of the plant's effectiveness comes as the government plans a further 12 desalination facilities, part of an expected investment in water projects of $12 billion in 2020-2027.
The new plants, which will be added to nine smaller ones already operating, are supposed to open by 2035, the state water and electricity utility.
Morocco now relies on surface and underground water for nearly all its freshwater consumption, using mostly a network of 149 large dams.
The dams that supply Agadir are almost dry and the city has had to rely on the 275,000 cubic meters a day of water supplied by the new desalination plant.
The plant does not only supply drinking water but will also be used to irrigate some farmland.
The 12 new desalination plants already planned or under way should reduce reliance on surface and groundwater to 80% from 97% by 2035 with a daily output of 1.3 million cubic meters.
The most important one, to supply Morocco's biggest city Casablanca, is due to start construction next year and come on stream in 2026.
Morocco wants to expand renewables as a share of its total power output to 52% by 2030 from 20% now to reduce dependence on imports and lower electricity costs.
All the new desalination plants, including Agadir, were meant to be powered by renewable energy.