Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch on Wednesday chaired the signing of an MoU and a concession contract between the State and the OCP Group for an emergency plan to produce drinking water by desalinating seawater in Safi and El Jadida.

The memorandum was initialed by the Minister of Economy and Finance, the Minister of Equipment and Water, the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior and the Chairman and CEO of OCP, according to a press release from the Department of the Head of Government.

It is part of the implementation and acceleration of the National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation 2020-2027 (PNAEPI 20-27) presented to HM King Mohammed VI, particularly in its component related to the mobilization of non-conventional water, through the programming of seawater desalination plants, adds the same source.

In light of the current exceptional drought, and in order to relieve the Oum Er-Rbia water basin and avoid the risk of interrupting the supply of drinking water to the population of the region, the government decided in February 2022 to launch a complementary program involving the development of a strategic partnership with OCP for the sustainable mobilization of water resources through seawater desalination, explains the source.

As part of an emergency plan, a joint seawater desalination project has been launched to produce drinking water to supply the Safi and El Jadida water boards and to meet OCP’s industrial needs, the press release emphasizes that this project, which is part of OCP’s “water neutrality” strategy to promote the use of green energy, aims to use exclusively non-conventional water (treated wastewater and desalinated seawater) for its industrial operations.

This contingency plan will allow the company to produce and supply 85 million m3 per year in the first stage between 2023 and 2025, and 110 million m3 per year in the second stage from 2026, according to the same source.

Regarding the production of drinking water, the emergency plan aims to provide 10 million m3 for the Safi Water Authority and 30 million m3 for the El Jadida Water Authority by 2023, it notes.

The statement further specified that for the years 2024 and 2025, the targeted volume is 15 million m3 per year for the Safi Water Authority and 32 million m3 per year for the El Jadida Water Authority, and from 2026, a volume of 30 million m3 per year for the Safi Water Authority and 45 million m3 for the El Jadida Water Authority.

With regard to the production of water for industrial use, the contingency plan aims to ensure the mobilization of 35 million m3 of treated desalinated water per year over time.