Contribution of Seawater Desalination to Cope with Water Scarcity in Souss-Massa Region in Southern Morocco

  • Abdelaziz HirichEmail author
  • Redouane Choukr-Allah
  • Abdessadek Nrhira
  • Mouna Malki
  • Lhoussaine Bouchaou
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 53)


Souss-Massa region is characterized by a high value in terms of horticultural production, mainly in greenhouse crops, which contributes to the socioeconomic development of the region. Since the early 2000s, the region is subject to increasing pressure on water resources, resulting in exploitation of groundwater beyond its renewable potential leading to a continuous decline in its piezometric level and threatening the agricultural development as well as all groundwater dependent ecosystems. In order to cope with water scarcity, the government decided to setup a project for groundwater safeguarding by implementing a seawater desalination plant for greenhouse crops irrigation in Chtouka zone with final capacity of 167,000 m3/day feeding irrigation network covering about 13,600 ha. The project aims as well to substitute some of the groundwater uptake and further more contributes to groundwater recharge by irrigation water leaching to the aquifer. The Government has established an agreement with representative agricultural organizations and stakeholders focusing on the implementation of collective management of water resources in Chtouka region particularly through the introduction of a quota system of groundwater withdrawals to limit the groundwater overexploitation and commitment of high cash crops producers to use a desalinated water volume of 3,600–4,000 m3 per hectare per year. The project will have a positive impact on the environment as it will contribute significantly in the reduction of the aquifer overexploitation and consequently will achieve an equilibrium in terms of groundwater balance as well as sustainable use of the aquifer in the Chtouka zone. Through this project the region will avoid a loss of nearly 9 billion DH as added value and 3 billion DH as capital in the horizon of 2035. The project will allow to increase the agricultural added value by 21.9% and preserve more than 2,830 permanent jobs.


Aquifer Chtouka Institutional framework Vegetables Water balance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdelaziz Hirich
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Redouane Choukr-Allah
    • 2
  • Abdessadek Nrhira
    • 3
  • Mouna Malki
    • 4
  • Lhoussaine Bouchaou
    • 4
  1. 1.International Center for Biosaline AgricultureDubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary MedicineAgadirMorocco
  3. 3.Souss-Massa-Drâa Hydraulic Basin AgencyAgadirMorocco
  4. 4.Applied Geology and Geo-Environment Laboratory, Faculty of ScienceIbn Zohr UniversityAgadirMorocco

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