MOROCCO – Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI has inaugurated several hydraulic, hydro-agricultural, and drinking water projects in the province of Essaouira, about 190 kilometers west of Marrakech.

The newly opened projects include the “Moulay Abderrahmane” dam, on Oued (river) Ksoub and a hydro-agricultural development project on the downstream of the new dam.

It also features other projects relating to the construction of a water treatment plant and strengthening access to drinking water in the region.

The new dam cost a budget of MAD 920 million (around US$95.81 million).

The hydro-agricultural development project, on the other hand, had a budget of MAD 238 million (about U$24.78 million), while the other projects aiming to strengthen access to drinking water had a total budget of MAD 227 million (around US$23.64 million).

The projects are in line with the objectives of the 2020-2027 National Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation Program, launched on Tuesday, January 1 with aim of consolidating and diversifying the country’s drinking water supply.

 The policy aims to ensure water security and combat the effects of climate change.

It also hopes to promote rural areas through the development of their agricultural production systems.

The “Moulay Abderrahmane” dam represents a continuity of the policy of dams, launched by the late King Hassan II, aiming to put the agricultural sector at the center of a balanced and sustainable economic growth in all Moroccan regions.

The dam is an embankment dam with a concrete mask and is 72 meters high on foundation and 418 meters long at the crest. It has a storage capacity of 65 million cubic meters.

The new hydraulic infrastructure brings the number of large dams in the region to six.

The projects are set to improve the supply of drinking water to the city of Essaouira and the neighboring regions.

They are also expected to preserve the province’s groundwater, and protect the areas and infrastructure located downstream of the dam from flooding.

 It is also anticipated that the dams will help to increase the irrigated agricultural area and the agricultural production capacity.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics, and Water, Abdelkader Amara announced that the dam will have two main missions.

 It will supply drinking water to a population of 250,000 people in the region and it will irrigate nearly 1,200 hectares of agricultural land.

The hydro-agricultural development project around the dam aims to take full advantage of the benefits provided by the new infrastructure.

The project will benefit 1,207 farmers in the rural communes of Ida Ougerd, Sidi El Jazouli, and Ounagha, announced the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water, and Forests, Aziz Akhannouch.

The project, covering an area of 1,300 hectares, is set to increase agricultural production by nearly 125%, particularly for cereals, olives, pomegranates, and figs.

It is also expected to increase the production value from 4,400 MAD/hectare/year (about U$458) to 25,000 MAD/hectare/year (around €2603).