At 600 cubic metres of water annually per capita, Morocco is already well below the water scarcity threshold of 1,700 cubic metres per capita per year, according to the World Health Organization. In the 1960s, water availability was four times higher -- at 2,600 cubic metres. A World Bank report on the Moroccan economy, published in July, said the decrease in the availability of renewable water resources put the country in a situation of "structural water stress".
The authorities have now introduced water rationing. The Interior Ministry ordered local authorities to restrict supplies when necessary, and prohibits using drinking water to irrigate green spaces and golf courses. Illegal withdrawals from wells, springs or waterways have also been prohibited.
In the longer term, the government plans to build 20 seawater desalination plants by 2030, which should cover a large part of the country's needs.
"We are in crisis management rather than in anticipated risk management," water resources expert Mohamed Jalil said, adding that it was "difficult to monitor effectively the measures taken by the authorities."