January 7, 2020 / 9:39 PM / 13 days ago

Morocco to spend $12 billion to secure water supply over next seven years

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco will spend 115 billion dirhams ($12 billion) on water supply between 2020 and 2027 to meet increasing demand, the state news agency reported on Tuesday.

Morocco was ranked as the 22nd-most water stressed country in a report last August by the World Resources Institute, a watchdog of global resources.

Farm income is volatile in semi-arid Morocco where climate change has caused droughts and summer flash floods in some areas.

The seven-year programme will include dam building, improving water consumption, preserving water resources and increasing supply in rural areas, the news agency said.

Water demand has surged in recent years especially in the north because of an expansion of urban centers and industrial activity.

Morocco’s economic growth should fall to 2.7% in 2019 from 3% in 2018 on the back of a lack of rainfall which caused a 49% drop in cereals output in 2019 compared with a year earlier, according to the central bank.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Angus McDowall and Grant McCool

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