Denmark and Morocco have been engaged in a strategic sector cooperation (SSC) within the water sector since June 2023. The objective of the partnership is to support implementation of the national water policy in Morocco with focus on sustainable groundwater management, efficient water supply and climate change/nature-based solutions.

Participation in international water resources conference in Fez and presentation of the Danish-Moroccan water sector cooperation. Photo: Nanna Granlie Vossen, 2023

Morocco is among the most affected countries in the World in terms of water deficiency and water stress. The need for both surface and groundwater in agriculture, cities and industry is increasing rapidly due to economic and population growth as well as developments in agriculture and industry. At the same time the availability of fresh water is declining due to pollution, overexploitation, climate changes and unsustainable approaches to water management and services.

The Government of Morocco gives high priority to water sector development and infrastructure, which is also reflected in water sector investment plans and public budgets. A large part of the investments are for construction of large dams, reservoirs, desalination plants, expansion of irrigation systems, waste water treatment facilities and development of bulk and distribution systems for drinking water. Investments are infrastructure oriented and directed towards production and supply management of water. There is however also a need to development a more demand-based approach optimizing and making water supply systems and services more efficient by reducing water loss and lowering energy consumption, developing a more sustainable use and management of groundwater resources and introducing nature-based solutions in managing climate changes.

Morocco is a country with a fast developing economy, which to a large extent depends on the use and management of scarce and valuable water resources. The SSC water cooperation with Morocco will make use of Danish core competences and expertise in water governance, holistic and integrated water resources management, sustainable groundwater management, innovative water supply services and approaches and tools to climate change adaption.

Strategic Sector Cooperation

The SSC partnership in the water sector between Denmark and Morocco was launched in June 2023 for a first three-year period until June 2026. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) collaborates with the Ministry of Equipment and Water (General Directorate of Water - DGH), the national water supply company, ONEE, and the regional water resources organization (RBO) in the Tensift basin. 3VAND, represented by Vandcenter Syd, is also involved in the Programme with focus on water supply services. The SSC cooperation in Morocco is financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) under a framework agreement between Danish MFA and the Danish Ministry of Environment. The Programme is designed based on Moroccan water sector priorities as well as on Danish core competences from the Danish and international water sector.

Meeting with central and local water authorities in Morocco to discuss joint activities in the water sector. Photo: Jan Møller Hansen, 2023.

Activities in Phase 1 of the SSC water cooperation with Morocco include, among others, the following:

  • Policy dialogue on sustainable groundwater management, efficient water supply and climate adaptation/nature-based solutions.
  • Strategic advice on regulatory framework, legislation, governance, organisation and financing in the water sector.
  • Advice on water sector governance and development, in particular on groundwater management, water supply and climate adaptation/nature-based solutions.
  • Advice on water resources planning and management at regional level with regional water resources authorities.
  • Exchange of knowledge and lessons learned with green transition and solutions to groundwater management, water supply and climate adaptation/nature-based solutions.
  • Enhancement of cooperation between public institutions and private sector, private sector involvement and promotion of investment opportunities in the water sector.
Visit to the national water supply company in Rabat, ONEE, to learn about water supply services in Morocco. Photo: Jan Møller Hansen, 2022.
Visit at regional water resources organization in Morocco. The SSC cooperation has established cooperation with one regional water authority.