Morocco promises no water shortages in Al Hoceima

Hundreds of people attend a demonstration in support of ongoing anti-government protests taking place in the northern Rif region on June 2, 2017 in Al-Hoceima, Morocco

The Moroccan government has promised that there will be no water crisis or shortages in the turbulent Al Hoceima until 2035.

The promise was made yesterday during a meeting held by a delegation led by the Minister of the  Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, the Secretary of State for Water, Abdelkader Amara, minister of equipment, and the director general of the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE).

The delegation devoted the agenda of its meeting to the question of water as the province experiences a shortage which worsens during the summer months.

The delegation took stock of the state of progress of the water infrastructure strengthening projects which received nearly $1 million in funding.

Read: Thousands march in Rabat to demand release of protest leaders

President of the region, Ilyas El Omari, told HuffPost Morocco that he took advantage of the meeting to draw attention to the problem of access to drinking water in the entire region. “I have intervened to remind you that not only Al Hoceima, but also other provinces in the region, do not yet have access to drinking water,” he said.

In Chaouen, the situation is more alarming than in Al Hoceima, where 50 per cent of the city’s population does not have access to drinking water, [which is] about 200,000 people.

According to El Omari, the inhabitants of the region have suffered greatly from the shortage of water accentuated by the drought in Ouazzane and Chaouen. “Several residents of the region complained about this situation last year,” he recalled.

For El Omari, the origin of this situation also lies in the lack of financial developments in the region. “The transfer of the powers to the regions has not yet been made … we receive from the government a percentage of the taxes of a value of 400 to 450 million dirhams [around $40 million per year],” he said, stressing that at the next session of the regional council in July it is expected that the region will get better and more involved in the supply of water and electricity by giving financial support to the municipalities.

Secretary of State, Charafat Afailal, said in a statement to the press that “this dam will strengthen the water infrastructure and meet the province’s drinking water needs.”

(Source / 14.06.2017)

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