Morocco covers an area of 710,850km2 in North West Africa and has a population of about 30M. Annual average precipitation in the country ranges from 30mm to 1100mm. The total mean runoff is 30km3.
Morocco now has 101 large dams in operation, comprising 49 embankments, 36 concrete dams and 16 masonry dams. The total water storage of all dams in the country is 15.6km3.
The Direction de la Recherche et de la Planification de l’Eau (DRPE) is in charge of water resources, represented by seven basin agencies and two regional water authorities known as Directions des Regions Hydrauliques (DRHs).
A law adopted in October 1995 provides effective legal instruments relating to the control and use of water resources.
It includes an evaluation of water resources and gives responsibility to agencies in each river basin to ensure rational planning, optimal exploitation and conservation. This comes under the DRPE and Direction GÈnÈrale de l’Hydraulique.
Morocco’s main large dams currently under construction are shown in the table.
Ait Hammou (Prince My Abdellah) VA dam (65m high), and Ait Messaoud PG (34m high in the Oum Er Rbia basin for irrigation and hydro power) were completed in 2002.
Other large dam projects planned to go ahead soon include:
• Heightening of the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah zoned earthfill dam from 98m to 106m, to start construction in the beginning of 2003.
• Boukarkour: for flood control (protection of Mohammadia city) to begin construction in 2003.
• Wirgane: RCC, 75m high, for water supply of Marrakech city
• Planned dams either under study or with studies completed are: Taskourt (RCC, 88m high, for irrigation).
Energy and power sectors
The sources of energy in Morocco are: thermal (82%) and hydro (18%). The main sources of electricity are: thermal plants (using petroleum fuels and coal), hydro (from storage schemes) and gas turbines.
The Ministry of energy and Mines is in charge of energy resources. Power plants are owned and operated by the Office National d’ElectricitÈ (ONE), the national power authority.
There are regional power authorities for electricity distribution, including ONE.
Hydro power development
The technically feasible potential and economically feasible potential are evaluated respectively at 4700 and 4000 GWH/year.
There is 1295MW of hydro capacity (2550 GWH), mostly at large dams, generating approximately 18% of national power production.
In the field of water resources, Morocco will focus its efforts during the next few years on the construction of dams. Works relating to water will focus on providing potable water for the population’s need, flood control, and, wherever possible, the production of energy.