Morocco’s National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) has recently started an important project to enhance the drinking water supply in the city of Ouarzazate, in the centre of the country, informs Afrik21. Also known as “the door to the desert”, this city, home to more than 700,000 people, is on a plateau at 1,160 metres of elevation, south of the High Atlas Mountains and bordering a desert.
The project involves an investment of 20.4 million euros. The new infrastructure is expected to provide drinking water to a population of 140,000 in Ouarzazate and its neighbouring areas, as well as the Noor Ouarzazate solar power station - the world's largest concentrated solar power plant - located 10 km south of the city.
A new water intake will be put in the Sultan Moulay Ali Cherif dam; the water extracted will be transported to a drinking water treatment plant through a 5.8 km pipeline with a capacity of 250 m3 per second. Another 40 km pipeline will convey the treated water to the water supply network of the city.
The planned infrastructure is part of Morocco’s national programme for drinking water supply and irrigation 2020-2027, an ambitious programme which will allocate close to €11 billion to improve water supply infrastructure for domestic use and irrigation in the country.
The project in Ouarzazate comes at a time when reservoir levels in the country have increased as a result of significant rainfall in the months of March and April, raising the overall water reserves from 46.2% in mid-March to 49.7% by the end of April.