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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Water Minimize

Since the decolonization of the Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco in 1975, several water supply and sanitation projects were carried out. The total cost amounts to MAD 1724 million including MAD1624 million for the reinforcement of water access and MAD 100 million for sanitation works.


These projects have allowed improving the supply water service and sanitary conditions of Sahrawi populations (see figure below).

A reinforcement and action plan 2007-2009 is also planned for an amount of MAD 1035 million including MAD 778 million dedicated to water access and MAD 257 million to sanitation works.


A summary of these achievements and the expected action plan, divided into activities (clean water and sanitation) are specified below:






Clean Water


Sector Evolution

Following the decolonization of the Kingdom’s southern provinces in 1975, the problem of clean water emerged at two levels:

• Insufficiency of water resources meant to satisfy Immediate needs;
• Insufficiency of installation infrastructure relating to clean water (canalisation, reserves and distribution networks).

A great research program was immediately carried out in order generate new water resources likely to satisfy clean water needs of populations.

The departments concerned were in charge of clean water service and took various provisions aiming at answering the immediate needs in water.

A three stage progressive working plan was worked out to improve water service for the populations of the Sahara region.

1st Stage:  emergency intervention allowing to satisfy minima and priority populations needs by rehabilitating installations and equipping resources regardless of their nature (briny water, fresh water).

2nd Stage:  Medium-term action plan which takes into account the weakness of fresh water resources and aims at supplying cities with water (distribution of brackish water through individual network and connections, fresh water through fountains and tankers).

3rd Stage: This programme aims at generalizing fresh water supply through distribution network and individual connections.

These efforts have allowed more than 95% of the Region’s population to have clean water.


Achieved Investments

The investments carried out relating to clean water in these provinces amounts to MAD 1624 Million between 1975 and 2006. These investments allowed inter alia:

  •  Equip the cities of Laâyoune and Boujdour with units of sea water desalination able to generate respectively 7000 m3/day and 1100 m3/day. In 2005, extension projects of these desalination stations were carried out to increase production to 13000 m3/day in Laâyoune and 2600 m3/day in Boujdour. 
  •  Realize in 1994 the water supply project in the city of Smara starting from Sidi El Khattari region with an output of 3460 m3/day.
  • Create desalination station for Tarfaya brackish water with a capacity of 800 m3 / day and the treatment plant in the city of Dakhla with a capacity of 9500 m3 / d put into service in 2001 and 2004.
  • Conduct and put into service in 2005 projects of drinking water centres in Foum El Oued and El Marsa in the province of Laayoune.
  • Provide drinking water facilities in Sidi Ahmed Laâroussi Amgala in the province of Smara.
  • Carry out the extension of the distribution network to outlying districts of Boujdour and Smara.

Put into service in 2006 the project to strengthen the distribution works in the city of Laayoune.

Photos of some works in the field of water:

 Laâyoune Desalination Station

Laâyoune Desalination Station

Laâyoune Desalination Station

500m3 elevated tank and semi-buried by 3250 m3 in El Wahda in Laayoune

Tanks elevated to 500 and 1200m3 of Polygon in Laayoune

800 m3 elevated Tank inthe city of El Marsa

500 m3 elevated tank in Foum El Oued

Smara Iron Station
1000 m3  semi buried Tank in Smara

500 m3 semi buried Tank in Smara

200 m3 elevated tankl in Sidi Ahmed Laâroussi in Smara

 200 m3 elevated tank in Amgala in Smara

The table below gives a summary of the overall investments per province over the period 1975-2006. Further details in Appendices:


Water service has been improved as shown by the following indicators:


The connection rate in the Sahara region reaches about 75%.

Action Plan

In order to meet the drinking water needs in the medium and long term, on the one hand, and ensure the supply of drinking water to smaller centres within the Sahara region, the departments in charge of water have identified an investment program with an amount of about 778 million MAD for 2007-2009, it includes the following main works:

- Strengthening drinking water work production in Smara and extending the iron station to increase production from 3460 m3 to 6960 m3 / d (185 million MAD).

- Generalising drinking water to small the centers lacking drinking water resources, currently supplied with (fresh or brackish) water from local sources of very low flow or from the closest water centres by transport trucks (260 million MAD). 

- Creating new plant station in Laayoune of an additional flow of 13000 m3 / d (200 million MAD).

-- Rehabilitating the old desalination station facilities in Laayoune and Boujdour (50 MAD).

- Strengthening the distribution works in the city of Dakhla (40 million MAD).

-- Extension of distribution networks in suburbs of cities Laayoune, Boujdour, Dakhla and Smara (5 million MAD)…

The progress of these projects is specified below

Liquid Sewage:

Within the framework of the expansion of its activities for the protection of water resources, and improvement of people’s health conditions, the departments in charge of drinking water have been managing sewage service at the city of Laayoune since January 2006, and have planned their intervention after the implementation of the sewerage network in the other centres.

Action Plan

The liquid sanitation sector knows a delay in the majority of centers in the region of the Sahara. Faced with this situation and within the framework of technical assistance given to municipalities to protect water resources and quality, an investment programme has been identified at an amount of about 357 million MAD (including 100 million dirhams were already made and 257 million MAD are programmed for the period 2007-2009). This program include:

- In Laayoune province:

• Implementation of works deemed essential for the improvement of people’s sanitary conditions (rehabilitation and extension of the liquid sewerage network in the city of Laayoune). The amount of this work, under construction, is 90 million MAD.

• Creation of a sewerage network and of wastewater treatment plant at the centers of Tarfaya and El Marsa. The amount of this work, under construction, is 75 million MAD.

• Creation of a sewerage network in the fishing village of Tarouma amounting to 17.7 million MAD.

- In Boujdour Province 
• Creation of a sewerage network and sewage treatment plant in the city of Boujdour. The amount of this work, under construction, is 56 million MAD.

- In Dakhla province:
• Creation of a sewerage network and sewage treatment plant in the city of Boujdour. The amount of this work, under construction, is 95 million MAD.

- In Smara province:
• Creation of a wastewater treatment plant at the town of Smara estimated at 23 million MAD.

The list of sewage projects in progress or scheduled for the Sahara region, as well as their progress are specified below.

Appendix 1: investment in drinking water supply during the period 1975-2006 in the Sahara region (click on the tabs of the cities of Laayoune, Boujdour, Smara and Oued Eddahab).

Appendix 2: Projects of drinking water in progress or scheduled for the period 2007-2009 in the region of the Sahara (Laayoune, Boujdour, Smara-Oued Eddahab and Aousserd).

Appendix 3: progress sewage projects underway or planned for the period 2007-2009 in the region of the Sahara (Laayoune, Boujdour, Smara and-Oued Eddahab).

Map illustrating hydrography


Source : Office National de l'Eau Potable (2007).

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