"Fourth consecutive year of drought / Depletion of groundwater / Critical levels of reserves in the largest dams / Worst situation of water stress in four decades..." alarming headlines are raising questions about the fate of the agricultural season in Morocco, particularly in the Souss Massa region.
According to a press release from the Independent multi-service agency of Agadir (RAMSA), the domestic water management body, the crisis has now reached households. "The distribution network will experience disruptions and even outages covering all areas of Agadir from January 11, 2024," reads the press release.
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If Souss Massa growers are still able to produce, it's to a large extent thanks to Agadir's seawater desalination plant. Will growers see their supply reduced to sustain household consumption? "We don't know yet, but it's unlikely," replies Amine Amanatoullah, a vegetable grower based in Agadir.
"As far as agricultural production is concerned, the situation is normal up to now. Neither directly nor through our associations we have not received any communication suggesting that water supplies will be limited or that costs will change," continues the producer. "It's true that the crisis has affected drinking water and water for domestic use, but, so far, there's nothing to report at the level of agricultural use."
"That said, farmers resort to a variety of solutions to irrigate their land, and few of them are 100% dependent on the desalination plant. Currently, on average, growers of the region rely on the plant for 40-50% of their needs and on subsoil water for the rest, although this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve," concludes Amanatoullah.
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