Enhancing Water Efficiency and Agriculture in Morocco

Morocco faces severe water scarcity, worsened by climate change, declining rainfall, and groundwater depletion. The country is addressing these issues through the World Bank-funded Large Scale Irrigation Modernization Project, which promotes drip irrigation to improve water efficiency and agricultural productivity.

The Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) supported this initiative by financing a study on water consumption, productivity, conservation, and groundwater use in modernized irrigation regions of El Haouz.

This study, part of the broader National Program of Water Savings in Irrigation, used remote sensing and satellite technology to analyze biomass and water use data, highlighting the link between evapotranspiration and agricultural water consumption.

The GWSP-funded study also facilitated policy dialogues on water conservation with the Moroccan government, benefiting the Regional Office for Irrigation of El Haouz and the River Basin Agency of Tensift.

This irrigation plan fell within the scope of areas designated for improvement under the $150 million World Bank-financed Large-Scale Irrigation Modernization Project, an integral component of the broader National Program of Water Savings in Irrigation. The GWSP-funded study used remote sensing and satellite technologies to successfully gather and analyze data related to changes in biomass (as a proxy for productivity) and overall water consumption in the study area.

The findings informed the development of water quotas and two World Bank-financed projects. By December 2022, the Large-Scale Irrigation Modernization Project improved water services for over 9,000 farmers across 20,700 hectares.

Additionally, insights from this collaboration informed the $182 million Resilient and Sustainable Water in Agriculture (RESWAG) project, approved in FY22. This project aims to enhance water governance, improve irrigation quality, and modernize on-farm irrigation technologies.

The key Moroccan counterparts, the Regional Office for Irrigation of El Haouz (operating under the Ministry of Agriculture) and the River Basin Agency of Tensift (under the Ministry of Equipment and Water), greatly benefited from the adoption of the innovative monitoring technologies used in the study. 

By 2027, it expects to provide 51,485 hectares with improved irrigation services and benefit over 23,000 farmers, helping Morocco manage water resources sustainably and cope with variability.

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