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The Abdelmoumen dam, a key source of water in Morocco’s Souss-Massa region, appears to be drying up.
The dam has a capacity of 198.4 million cubic meters (Mm3), according to data from the Ministry of Equipment.
As of October 30, it holds only 2.3 Mm3 of water, or 1.2% of its total capacity.
Casawi d’origine shared photos of the dry reservoir on Facebook, noting that the dam represents an important water source for the city of Agadir and its suburbs.
In October 2019, the Abdelmoumen dam fill rate was 16.4%, amounting to 32.5 Mm3 of water.
The Abdelmoumen dam now has the lowest fill rate of all dams in Morocco.
Only dams with significantly smaller capacities have fill rates close to that of the Abdelmoumen dam, such as the Ibn Batouta dam in Tangier.
Ibn Batouta has the second-lowest fill rate in Morocco, 4.9%, but a capacity of only 29.1 Mm3.
Morocco’s water challenges
After multiple heatwaves and an agricultural season marked by drought, Morocco is still struggling to meet its water needs as it transitions to the winter season.
Morocco’s average dam filling rates have steadily declined due to low rainfall levels since 2015.
In July, Minister of Equipment Abdelkader Amara announced that Morocco’s national average dam filling rate was only 45%, amounting to approximately 7.5 billion cubic meters.
Water reservoirs throughout the country have recorded significant deficits since September 2019, when the national average dam filling rate was 54%.
Morocco’s dams accumulated only 3.8 billion cubic meters of water between September 2019 and 2020, a 66% deficit compared to annual averages.
Amara outlined the decreasing fill rates of the Tensift dam in Marrakech (-37%), the Oum Erbia dam (-47%), the Abdelmoumen dam (-67%), the Bouregreg basin (-49%), and the Draa basin (-58%) compared to the year prior.
The average temperature in Morocco has increased by 0.5 degrees Celsius every decade since 1970, exceeding the global average by 0.15 degrees.
Morocco’s equipment minister predicts that by 2050, average annual temperatures in the country will rise by up to three degrees Celsius.
In order to respond to its water challenges, Morocco announced on January 13 a new $11.96 billion water plan for 2020-2027.
Under the plan, Morocco aims to build dams ($6.38 billion budget), develop agricultural irrigation systems ($2.6 billion), and secure drinking water supplies in rural areas ($2.8 billion).
Another $240.4 million will go towards reusing treated wastewater for irrigation. The ministry will also devote $5.2 million to raising awareness about the importance of preserving water.