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Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan Inaugurates Landmark $653 Million Desalination Plant in Casablanca

Tuesday 11 June 2024 - 12:00
Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan Inaugurates Landmark $653 Million Desalination Plant in Casablanca

Africa's Largest Desalination Project Set to Address Morocco's Water Crisis

In a significant leap towards addressing Morocco's burgeoning water crisis, Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan has officially commenced the construction of a monumental seawater desalination plant in Casablanca. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on Monday in the commune of Lamharza Essahel, located in the province of El Jadida.

This state-of-the-art facility, touted as the largest of its kind across the African continent, is designed to produce an impressive 300 million cubic meters of potable water annually. The plant aims to cater to the water needs of approximately 7.5 million residents in the Casablanca region, including the cities of Settat, Berrechid, and Bir Jdid, as well as their surrounding areas.

The project aligns with Morocco’s strategic approach to mitigating the severe water scarcity caused by a significant rainfall deficit and intense pressure on traditional water resources. It is a cornerstone of the broader 2020-2027 National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation, initiated by King Mohammed VI in 2020, with a projected total investment of MAD 143 billion ($14.3 billion).

Spanning 50 hectares, the construction of the desalination plant will be executed in two phases. The first phase, anticipated to be operational by the end of 2026, will achieve a daily treatment capacity of 548,000 cubic meters of water. Following this, the second phase will boost the plant’s capacity to 822,000 cubic meters per day.

The project demands a substantial investment of MAD 6.5 billion ($652.2 million), sourced through a public-private partnership. Additional infrastructure elements include a reverse osmosis desalination unit and an extensive water transport system. This system will feature plumbing stations, storage reservoirs, and a distribution network extending nearly 130 kilometers. The water transport infrastructure alone will require an additional MAD 3 billion ($301 million), financed through public funds.

Key components of the plant include two seawater intake pipelines, each stretching 1,850 meters, and a discharge outfall measuring 2,500 meters. The facility will also house reverse osmosis desalination installations, a sludge treatment unit, and a sophisticated control and management center.

Morocco has encountered escalating challenges related to drought and water shortages over the past five years. In response, the government has implemented measures to promote water conservation, including public awareness campaigns against water wastage.

In a statement made in May, Moroccan Minister of Equipment Nizar Baraka outlined the government’s comprehensive water strategy, which emphasizes three main objectives: maximizing the use of traditional water sources, advancing desalination technology as a non-traditional water resource, and prioritizing water conservation and efficiency.

The inauguration of the Casablanca desalination plant stands as a testament to Morocco’s commitment to securing a sustainable water future, ensuring the availability of this vital resource for millions of its citizens.

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