2nd edition of Business Dialogue on water: Desalination, a sustainable way to respond to water stress in Morocco?

In a country where agriculture occupies a prominent place, solutions for optimized water consumption are developed significantly through agritech and water-tech.

During the 2nd edition of the Business Dialogue initiated by the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) and the Moroccan Coalition for Water (COALMA), which took place on Friday 13 May in Marrakech, the Minister of Equipment and Water, Nizar Baraka, insisted on that the need to resort to desalination of seawater at the level of the coast. This choice will thus make it possible to secure and secure the needs on behalf of the peoples living on the coast and to release enough water to the inland regions.

The Minister thus stressed the need to mobilize non-conventional water resources, which underlined the government’s desire to speed up the water desalination process. Referring to the agricultural sector, the Minister said that currently 700,000 hectares have already been converted dropwise with the aim of reaching 1,000,000 ha by 2026. It should be noted that this meeting aims to discuss ways to strengthen Morocco’s water security by integrating it private sector upstream in the development of strategies and by using diversified solutions, including the use of non-conventional water resources. In this second edition of the Business Dialogue, the President of the CGEM, Chakib Alj, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ryad Mezzour, as well as prominent national and international experts in the public and private sectors, participated as a platform for the exchange of experience. .

CGEM President Chakib Alj highlighted Morocco’s efforts to address water challenges and called for greater involvement of all stakeholders, especially the private sector. The kingdom is located in a region among the most affected by the damaging effects of climate change, and water is the main sector affected, he said. To address these challenges, Mr Alj stressed the need to act together by making urgent choices and strategic decisions. “It’s a shared responsibility,” he said. The leader of CGEM advocated the use of non-conventional waters through greater development of new solutions for the mobilization of water resources, in particular through sustainable seawater desalination technologies using renewable energy, but also the recycling of treated wastewater.

Alj also specified that “all of this can be achieved through water sector management that ensures upstream involvement of the private sector and other stakeholders in planning policies, or even the use of innovative funding through public-private partnerships or purely private investments for certain projects” . Furthermore, he pointed out that in a country where agriculture occupies a prominent place, solutions for optimized water consumption are developed significantly through agritech and water-tech. Sir. Alj also suggested that innovative technologies have already been multiplied for several years, to support industries for better water efficiency and effectiveness, sizing and installation of wastewater treatment plants. Ryad Mezzour, for its part, pointed out that the fall in the cost of renewable energy could contribute to the competitiveness of water desalination processes. Morocco has a low-cost production capacity for renewable energy, among the best in the world, he noted. According to Mr. Mezzour is the current challenge of devoting part of this production to desalination of water. The Minister also mentioned a proactive plan for water treatment, which targets active and polluting industrial zones and envisages the displacement of polluting activities, in particular leather, into zones that allow wastewater treatment to be treated in accordance with international standards.

Water stress: Lydec shares its experiences

As a founding member of Coalma, Lydec contributed to this major event to share its experience as a reference operator in the management of public services, which has supported the development and sustainable urbanization of the Casablanca metropolis for 25 years. Lydec CEO Jean-Pascal Darriet highlighted the critical water situation in many hydraulic basins in the country. “We certainly will not have enough water for the next few years or even months …

We must consume responsibly. In addition to the smart technologies that we use to conserve water resources, we are working to make alternative water resources available, especially through the recycling of treated wastewater, ”he emphasized. As a reminder, Lydec is committed to acting in favor of sustainable management of natural resources, biodiversity and the climate, as part of its 2030 Sustainable Development Roadmap, which is structured around 3 commitments and 12 goals for the Sustainable Transitional Division of the Casablanca -Settat region.

Last year, Lydec “listened” to approximately 18,000 km of network during night inspection operations. The teams discovered and repaired nearly 16,700 water leaks in pipes, connections and measuring stations, saving more than 10 million m³ of drinking water in 2021 and more than 74 million m³ of water compared to 1997, corresponding to the annual amount of water needed. with more than 1.2 million inhabitants.

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