In Morocco, water supply and quality can be the deciding factor in the survival of a community. Today, 83 percent of Moroccans have access to improved drinking water, and 72 percent have access to improved sanitation. However, in a steadily growing population, the percentage of Moroccans lacking such access are faced with many challenges.
Here are eight facts about water quality in Morocco:
- In just half a century, Morocco’s population has more than tripled from 10 million to 32 million. Mass migrations have brought more than half the population to cities, giving rise to “tin cities,” or slums. These communities are located on the outskirts of urban areas, where access to clean water, electricity and sanitation services does not exist.
- The one-third of Moroccans without access to proper sanitation services are at high risk of waterborne diseases such as gastrointestinal infections, malaria and typhoid.
- Agriculture is responsible for 19 percent of Morocco’s GDP, but only 15 percent of agricultural land has access to irrigation. Due to a lack of sanitation services and inadequate wastewater treatment, the already scarce water resources for irrigation are often contaminated.
- Due to climate change, rainfall in Morocco is predicted to decline by as much as 50 percent by the year 2050, increasing the risk of droughts.
- Between 2004 and 2011, Morocco’s own Cities Without Slums urban development campaign created 100,000 new housing units in different parts of the country, providing 1.5 million people with access to water, power and sanitation.
- In 2016, USAID provided 336 Moroccan families with information on the best sanitation and hygiene practices. It also rehabilitated the retaining walls of a community’s water reservoir to prevent contamination.
- The same year, Moroccan farmers received irrigation advice for their crops from USAID through an SMS service, helping the country’s agrarian society achieve the greatest potential from limited resources.
- Also in 2016, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization teamed up with USAID to create a regional drought monitoring system that serves to maximize early warnings for droughts in North Africa and the Middle East.
While steps are being made toward a promising future, efforts of local and foreign aid to improve water quality in Morocco and strengthen resources must gain momentum in order to counter the effects of a growing population and a warming world.
– Sophie Nunnally