- Alice ANDRAL - Expert in space hydrology - CNES - France
- Saad BENAMAR - Director of the Laboratory of Environmental, Plant and Urban Sciences - University of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah - Fez (Morocco)
- Iakovos GANOULIS - Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Director of Water - Greece
- Abdoulaye SENE - Executive Secretary and Co-Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the organization of the 9th World Water Forum - Dakar 2021
- Timo JOKELAINEN - Director of ELY-Center of Lapland*- Finland, President of Euro-INBO for 2019-2020
- Khatim KHERRAZ - Executive Secretary, Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)
- Yamna DJELLOULI - Biologist, Professor Emeritus of the University of Le Mans - Researcher in the Joint Research Unit "Space and Society" of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - France
- Lansana FOFANA - High Commissioner - Organization for the Development of the Gambia River (OMVG) - Guinea
- Alejandro ROGRIGUEZ-MARTINEZ - Water Commissioner of the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir (CHG) - Spain
- Moustapha CONGO - Permanent Secretary of the Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management - Ministry of Water and Sanitation - Burkina-Faso
M'hamed EL FASSKAOUI
Director of the Souss Massa Basin Agency - Morocco
In what way is INBO an important network on an international scale?
The International Network of Basin Organizations is important because it promotes water resource management at the basin level.
It is an effective and participatory management because it takes into account many quantitative and qualitative aspects at this scale. This makes it possible to guarantee each user his share of this resource, to perpetuate the use and investments in infrastructures installed in the basin.
INBO therefore encourages integrated water resource management, which is central in all countries. Indeed, development cannot be achieved without a sufficient and high-quality water resource.
How can networking and the exchange of experiences feed into each member organisation?
INBO brings together all basin organizations on a global scale. Meetings are held regularly in all regions of the world.
Thanks to the network, each member, wherever he or she is, can therefore benefit from the experiences of other members.
Some countries are advanced on certain themes, others are less so, but this makes it possible to exchange, know and take advantage of all the good practices of all partners.
What are the issues surrounding the water issue in Morocco and what are the main orientations of public policies?
Morocco is part of this strategic policy of basin management. We have a sufficient legal arsenal: the Water Law 1095 (amended by Law 36-15) has made it possible to establish Basin Agencies since 1995.
At the scale of each basin, concerted participatory management can be ensured. The Basin Agencies, which are public institutions, are managed by an Executive Board composed of representatives of water-related administrations and users. Concerted and participatory decisions concerning water resources can thus be taken.
The Basin Agency is a technical tool and the Director implements the decision of this Executive Board. The Basin Agency, which is equipped with qualified and technical human resources, also acts as an advisor to the Executive Board. It carries out studies and proposes guidelines, but the final decision rests with the users.
In Morocco, the Basin Agencies are autonomous entities in basin-wide management, from an administrative and financial point of view.
Morocco's national water strategy aims to ensure that our water needs are met to support the country's economic and social development.
Morocco faces enormous challenges of drought and water deficit. We can no longer access all water demands because they must be justified. There are huge actions to be done in water saving, in the field of irrigation. Morocco has decided to generalize certain irrigation techniques and to change traditional gravity-based methods into water-saving techniques. For example, drip irrigation, with a colossal program implemented for 500,000 hectares irrigated.
On the Souss Massa Basin, that I manage, out of the 100,000 hectares that were irrigated by traditional gravity irrigation since 2017, we have already gone drip irrigation for 80,000 hectares. We should finalize with the remaining 20,000 hectares by 2020. We have almost achieved full generalization of this water saving method.
Overall in figures, by 2050, Morocco will have a deficit of some 5 billion cubic metres of water.
To fill them, we need to build dams on different sites to collect 2.5 billion cubic metres. The remaining 2.5 billion will come from saving irrigation water. Each year, approximately 300,000 million cubic metres must be obtained through desalination and 300,000 million through the reuse of wastewater, particularly for watering green spaces and golf courses.
Morocco has problems with erosion and siltation of its dams. We have about 140 dams with a combined capacity of 17 billion cubic metres. But, due to siltation and erosion, some 50 million cubic metres are lost per year. The country is currently working on the management of watersheds to reduce these two phenomena and extend the life of our dams.
We have dams of very different sizes. The largest dam collects 4 billion cubic metres. We have others of different sizes, ranging from 1 billion or 2 billion, to 900,000 million, 700,000 million, 200,000 million cubic metres...
The Basin I manage has 10 dams with a cumulative potential of 780 Million cubic meters of reservoir. Currently [June 2019], their occupancy rate is 34% on average. The Sousse region is an agricultural region that produces about 80% of all Morocco's agricultural exports, such as citrus fruits, market garden products and early vegetables. There is therefore a real economic challenge and strong pressure on the water resource that we are managing with the participation of all our partners who are strongly mobilized around the decisions taken by the Agency. We do not force anyone to be convinced, but through communication, we hope that everyone will align themselves.
You will be hosting INBO World Assembly as the "Marrakech International Summit on Water Security" will be held next September. How do you see the complementarity of these 2 events?
Indeed, since INBO General Assembly in Merida, Mexico, in 2016, Morocco has been a candidate to organize this GA and INBO has accepted, for which we thank it!
From 30 September to 03 October 2019, Morocco will therefore welcome INBO members to Marrakech, a city overhung by the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, which reach 4,165 metres and are covered with snow in winter.
This GA is very specific and coincides with the "Marrakech International Summit on Water Security". Indeed, water security is an important issue because the issue of access to water is beginning to threaten a number of countries, African in particular. Many countries are facing very severe droughts and the water deficit is a real problem, given the ever-increasing demand from users.
It is therefore necessary to define common strategies and to benefit from the experiences of other countries in order to guarantee real sustainable development and access to this resource for all citizens of the planet. Ministers in charge of water issues from several African, European, American and Latin American countries will be present.
INBO GA will start with a meeting of its Regional Networks. The moral and financial reports related to the closing of the 2016-2019 period chaired by Mexico will be presented during INBO World Liaison Bureau meeting.
There will also be a handover session of INBO Presidency from Mexico to Morocco. Morocco will thus hold this presidency for the next 3 years, from 2019-2022.
Everyone is welcome in Morocco, a country which has already hosted many international events on the topic of water, such as the 1st World Water Forum, the 1st Mediterranean Water Forum and INBO's GA in 2013 !
Interview conducted during the EUROPE-INBO 2019 Conference - From 17 to 20 June 2019 - Lahti (Finland) - ©RIOB 2019