Supporting water access, collection and treatment in Morocco

Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Economy and Finance, M. Ali Fassi-Fihri, General Director of ONEP (National Water Supply Board) and Mrs Françoise Clottes, the World Bank’s Acting Country Director for the Maghreb countries signed today, in Rabat, in the presence of the concerned parties’ representatives, the agreements for two IBRD loans for a cumulative amount of US$218mn to improve access to water supply and expand wastewater systems in Morocco.

 

The objective of the Regional Potable Water Supply Systems project (1,740mn MAD supported by a US$175mn equivalent IBRD loan) is to increase access to potable water supply for selected local communities in the provinces of Nador, Driouch, Safi, Youssoufia, Sidi Bennour and Errachidia. The project will finance significant infrastructure investments in water supply production, transmission and distribution systems to meet the growing needs of urban and rural populations in the six targeted provinces.

The project is an integral part of the potable water generalization programme carried out by ONEP. One of the project’s most important value-added elements is to help improve water supply coverage in rural areas, while taking into account the increasing preference of the population for house connections. To meet these challenges, ONEP has developed sustainable management methods for offering the option of individual house connections and has adapted participatory approaches involving early consultation with future beneficiaries. The quality of project implementation and the success of these approaches will be critical for ensuring the sustainability of the service and project-funded investments.

 

Environmental objectives

The “Oum Er Rbia” Sanitation project (569mn MAD supported by a US$43mn equivalent IBRD loan) has two objectives. The first is to increase access to sewerage services and reduce wastewater-related pollution in selected towns in the Oum Er Rbia river basin. The second objective is to pilot non-conventional technologies for wastewater collection and treatment and the implementation of gap filling measures required for the use of Morocco’s Environmental and Social framework for the bank’s funded project.

This project is a continuation of initiatives undertaken by Morocco to overcome sanitation challenges in small and medium-sized cities. It will also contribute to pilot suitable and cost-effective sanitation solutions in the same way. The “Oum Er Rbia” Sanitation project is expected to help bring Morocco closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

“These two loans demonstrate the World Bank’s continuous engagement in the strategic and sensitive Water and Sanitation sector in Morocco. These programmes will contribute to an efficient and sustainable water resources management in addition to the important impact on the citizens’ socio-economic development and their quality of life,”  said Mrs. Françoise Clottes, Acting Country Director for the Maghreb countries.

The Kingdom of Morocco and the World Bank have a long history of substantial and fruitful partnerships in the water and sanitation sector. This partnership has materialised through strong collaboration on significant programmes including the Programme for Access to Potable Water, the National Sanitation Programme, and the Output-Based Aid, an innovative approach focusing on extending access to water and sanitation services in poor urban and rural areas.

The water and sanitation sector was one of the four pillars of the 2005-2009 Country Assistance Strategy which contributed to “ the improvement of water management and the access to water and sanitation services”. The recently approved Country Partnership Strategy 2010-2013 between the Kingdom of Morocco and the World Bank confirms the importance of this sector through the renewed commitments for the establishment of equitable and sustainable water supply and sanitation services, at affordable prices, particularly to underserved segments of the population.

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