AfDB approves loan for water supply project in Marrakech, Morocco

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of $157mto help finance the Marrakech Region Water Supply Project in Morocco.

AfDB will provide the loan for the project in two batches, $120m and $37m, which will be used to enable Morocco to improve water quality and cut down the spread of waterborne diseases affecting children in the region.

The project, which will be carried out within the framework of inclusive development and integrated management of water resources by the bank, will cater to domestic, tourist and industrial (mining) water needs.

Aimed at meeting the water demand for about 3 million people by 2030, the project is designed to meet the requirements of the country's phosphate industry (Office Chérifien des Phosphates, or OCP).

To be implemented over a period of five years, the project will also receive funding from the French Development Agency (AFD), the National Electricity and Drinking Water Authority (ONEE) and OCP.

Under the project, several drying beds will be created to allow the storage of sludge for a few years.

In addition to this, the project will provide mechanical sludge thickening and mechanical dewatering by centrifugation, prior to storage in drying beds to reduce the volume of sludge produced.

Underground water resources used for the Marrakech city drinking water supply are derived from seven catchment fields fed by the Haouz water table.

The fields include N'Fis (13 boreholes), Bahja (two wells), Iziki (one well), Issil (five wells), Ourika (three wells), Menara (two wells) and Saada (two boreholes).

Earlier in 2007, Morocco witnessed a drop in the flow rate of the drinking water supply to Marrakech from 1,400l/s in 1976 to 320l/s.