Morocco

For its solar potential, Morocco is characterised by intense solar radiation with an average of 5.3 kWh/m2 under annual sunshine durations varying from 2700 h in the North to about 3500 h in the South, and total installed capacity from solar energy currently stands at 831 MW..

Morocco spans an area of 710,850 km (Western Sahara included) square with a population of roughly 37 million citizens.

Morocco is composed predominantly of "hot summer Mediterranean climate" (Csa) and "hot desert climate" (BWh) zones.

Morocco, with its vibrant cultural heritage and stunning landscapes, has become a beacon of success in Africa, particularly in the realms of renewable energy and water management. The nation has made remarkable progress in electrification and harnessing renewable energy sources, setting an inspiring example for sustainable development.

Electrification Triumphs

The Moroccan electric grid is not just well-developed; it stands as a testament to the country's commitment to universal access. Boasting a remarkable electrification rate of 91.6%, Morocco has successfully implemented solar-driven electrification programs, especially in remote rural areas where traditional grid extensions were impractical.

In a span of fifteen years, rural electrification rates catapulted from a mere 18% in 1990 to an impressive nearly 100% today. The success story involves electrifying 200,000 households in remote areas through solar home systems. As of 2018, over 40,500 villages, accounting for approximately 2,078,679 households, were electrified – a monumental achievement attributed to both grid connections and innovative solar kits.

This robust infrastructure has facilitated the integration of renewable energy sources, with Morocco currently boasting a total installed capacity of 4031 MW from renewables. The National Office of Electricity and Water (ONEE) has set ambitious targets for 2030, aiming for an installed electrical capacity of 10 GW, with significant contributions from solar, wind, and hydropower.

A Paradigm for Water Conservation

While excelling in energy, Morocco faces challenges in water management, grappling with freshwater scarcity. The country's per capita water availability has declined drastically from 2,560m³ in the 1960s to the current 606m³, projected to decrease further to 500m³ by 2030. This alarming trend necessitates urgent and strategic water conservation measures.

Morocco's water resources include 149 large dams, 137 small/medium dams, and 120 major natural lakes, yet increasing demand poses a considerable threat. Groundwater, comprising about 20% of water resources, is overexploited, leading to a deficit of 1000 million m³ annually. Groundwater quality degradation compounds the issue, with saline intrusion and nitrate pollution posing significant challenges.

Efforts to address water scarcity include a comprehensive strategy targeting a 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Specific consumption reduction goals in transportation, industry, construction, and public lighting underscore Morocco's commitment to holistic resource management.

Balancing Act: Agriculture and Water Efficiency

Morocco's semi-arid to arid climate, coupled with frequent droughts, places immense pressure on water resources, especially in agriculture. With only 17% of cultivated areas under water management, strategies to enhance irrigation efficiency become paramount.

Traditional flood-irrigation methods, like the "Robta," have been criticized for water wastage, with only half of the water entering fields being used by crops. Though measures to increase efficiency have been introduced, adoption rates among farmers remain low due to cost constraints.

The introduction of spate irrigation covering 165,000 ha and the adoption of drip irrigation on approximately 163,000 ha demonstrate Morocco's commitment to sustainable water usage in agriculture. Research emphasizes the importance of choosing crop varieties with rapid vegetative development, high harvest index, and drought resistance, aligning with the country's efforts to balance agricultural needs with water conservation.

Conclusion

Morocco's journey towards sustainable development is marked by notable achievements in renewable energy and a steadfast commitment to address water scarcity. While challenges persist, the nation's integrated approach to cross-sector solutions provides hope for a future where energy and water resources are managed responsibly. As Morocco continues to strive for balance and efficiency, its experiences serve as a valuable lesson for nations navigating the complex landscape of sustainable development.