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Moroccomarker: Water and Sanitation
Water coverage (broad definition) 82%
Sanitation coverage (narrow definition)
Continuity of supply (%) 100%
Average urban water use (l/c/d) n/a
Average urban water tariff (US$/m3) US$
Share of household metering very high
Annual investment in WSS $22 per capita (2005)
Share of self-financing by utilities low
Share of tax-financing n/a
Share of external financing high
Decentralization Yes, for larger cities
National water and sanitation company Yes, for bulk water supply and small towns
Water and sanitation regulator None
Responsibility for policy setting Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment
Sector law Water resources law, but no specific law for water supply and sanitation
Number of urban service providers 17 (ONEP, 4 private operators and 12 local utilities)
Number of rural service providers n/a

Water supply and sanitation in Morocco is characterized by substantial improvements in access to water supply, and to a lesser extent to sanitation, over the past fifteen years. Water and sanitation services are provided by a wide array of utilities. They range from private companies in the largest city, Casablancamarker, the capital, Rabatmarker, and two other cities, to public municipal utilities in 13 other cities, as well as a national water company (ONEP). The latter is in charge of bulk water supply to the aforementioned utilities, water distribution in about 500 small towns, as well as sewerage and wastewater treatment in 60 of these towns.

Remaining challenges include a low level of wastewater treatment (only 13% of collected wastewater is being treated), lack of house connections in the poorest urban neighborhoods, and limited sustainability of rural systems (20 percent of rural systems are estimated not to function). In 2005 a National Sanitation Program was approved that aims at treating 60% of collected wastewater and connecting 80% of urban households to sewers by 2020. The issue of lack of water connections for some of the urban poor is being addressed as part of the National Human Development Initiative, under which residents of informal settlements have received land titles and have fees waived that are normally paid to utilities in order to connect to the water and sewer network.

Water resources

Conventional water resources

Morocco has about 29 billion cubic meter of conventional renewable water resources per year (average 1977-2001), equivalent to 936 cubic meter/capita/year. However, only about 20 billion cubic meter per year can be economically captured (ressources mobilisables), including 16 billion m3 of surface water and 4 billion m3 of groundwater. Morocco has about a 100 dams of various sizes with a total storage capacity of 15 billion cubic meter. It was estimated that in 2004 about 13.5 billion m3 were withdrawn, or about 67% of available resources. 83% of withdrawals were for agriculture and 17% for municipal and industrial uses. However, water resources are not divided equally in space and time, with most of the water resources available in the North and rainfall limited to the winter. In addition, the quality of water resources is degraded through pollution, in particular in the Sebou basin.[[Image:Village atlas.jpeg|thumb|right|300px|Snowpack in the Atlas Mountains, where most major rivers in Morocco have their source, provide important storage for water resources]]Morocco is divided in seven major river basins and a number of smaller basins. The seven major basins from North to South are the Loukkos River, the Moulouya River, the Sebou Rivermarker, the Bou Regreg River, the Oum Er-Rbia Rivermarker, the Tensift River and the Souss-Massa basin. Except for the Loukkos River, all these rivers originate in the Atlas Mountains.There are few inter-basin transfers in Morocco, the most important ones being the Rocade canal from the Oum Er-Rbia basin to the Tensift basin near Marrakesh, a transfer from near the mouth of the Oum er-Rbia to Casablanca and a transfer from the Bouregreg River also to Casablanca. There are tentative plans for a large north-south water transfer project with an average conveyance capacity of around 2.74 million cubic meter/day (0.75 billion m3/year) over 500-600 km from the Sebou River basin to the water-stressed Tensift basin.

Water use for municipal and industrial uses was about 2.28 billion m3 in 2003, of which 0.7 billion m3 (31%) were from groundwater and 1.58 billion m3 (69%) from surface water. Groundwater resources are overexploited in parts of the country, in particular in the Sous-Massa area in the South where irrigation is the predominant water user.

Water reuse

So far there is limited planned reuse of reclaimed water in Morocco, given that only 13% of the collected wastewater undergoes any treatment. Compared to the overall water use in Morocco, reclaimed water can only provide a fraction of the country's increasing water needs. Furthermore, there is no regulatory framework for water reuse and no established system to recover the costs for reclaimed water from users. There have been a few scattered small-scale pilot reuse projects since the 1980s, some of which have been abandoned. Among the sustainable projects is a project to irrigate golf courses in Ben Slimane that has been operating since 1997 with a capacity of 5,600 cubic meter/day. In 2009 a large reuse project was planned in Agadir to irrigate a golf course and municipal gardens with 50,000 cubic meters/day. In 2009 there were also two projects for direct, planned reuse in agriculture in Oujda and Beni Mellal. These projects are financed by the National Environmental Fund and would add a tertiary treatment stage to existing treatment plants. In 2009 the water department of the State Secretariat for Water and Environment carried out a national study for water reuse.


Morocco is increasingly looking towards seawater desalination as a source to supply its increasing water needs for drinking, industry and mining. The Secrétariat d’Etat chargé de l’Eau et de l’Environnement has commissioned a study on desalination due to be completed by the end of 2009. Among others, the study foresees a large new desalination plant in the Casablanca region with a capacity of around 685,000m3/day. Specific projects with about 70,000m3/day of new capacity were under planning in 2009.


In 2004 82% of the population of Morocco had access to an improved water source. Specifically, this means that 60.5% of Moroccans had access to piped water in their house or in the yard of their house. For 11% the main source of water supply was a public stand pipe, for 5.6% it was a protected well. 1.5% of Moroccans, essentially in rural areas, relied on rainwater harvesting as their principal water source. 7% collected water from springs. Half of these springs, supplying 3.5% of the population, were estimated to be protected. All the above sources are considered as improved water sources by the WHO, thus bringing the total to 82%.

18% of the population did not have access to an improved water source. This share is split up as follows: 1%, both in urban and rural areas, used water from tankers as their main water source. 7% collected water from unprotected public wells and 4% from unprotected private wells inside their home or yard. 2.5% took their water directly from rivers and open reservoirs. Another 3.5% were estimated to use an unprotected spring as their main source of water supply, so that in total 18% of the population lacked access to an improved water source.

WATER Urban Rural Total
Tap inside the house 82.6% 18.1% 58.3%
Tap in the yard 2.6% 1.7% 2.2%
Bottled Water 0.6% 0.3% 0.5%
Standpipe 10.8% 11% 10.9%
Protected wells 0.8% 13.5% 5.6%
Open wells 1% 26.6% 10.7%
Spring 0.9% 17.2% 7.1%
River or creek 0.0% 5.4% 2.0%
Reservoir of a dam 0.0% 0.3% 0.1%
Rainwater harvesting 0.0% 4.0% 1.5%
Tanker truck 0.6% 1.5% 0.9%
Others 0.1% 0.4% 0.2%
TOTAL 100% 100% 100%

Source: Enquête sur la Population et la Santé Familiale (Population and Family Health Survey) 2004.

Concerning sanitation, 98% of the urban population and 58% of the rural population had access to an improved sanitation facility in 2004. 40% of the rural population were estimated to defecate in the open. The World Health Survey of 2003 estimated that 87% of the urban population in Morocco was connected to sewers. However, it is the poorest who have no access to sanitation: A 2004 World Bank study noted that "Sewerage service is completely lacking in the peri-urban areas of secondary urban centers. Slums scattered across the bigger metropolitan areas are also deprived of access to the sewerage collection network, reinforcing the health risks and poverty stigma in those neighborhoods."

Service quality

Water supply is continuous in almost all medium and large urban centers. Only about 13 percent of collected sewage is being treated before being discharged into the environment. (add source)

History and recent developments

Private service provision during the protectorate

During the French Protectorate, beginning in 1912, water supply and sanitation in many large cities in Morocco were managed under a concession to the private company Société Marocaine de Distribution d'eau, de gaz et d'electricité (SMD). SMD, a consortium led by Lyonnaise des Eaux, provided services in Casablanca, Rabat, Salé, Tangiers and Meknes. Since 1950 SMD also managed a vital bulk water transfer project: The supply of water from the Oum er-Rbia river to Casablanca. Bulk water supply to other cities that were not able to supply themselves from local water sources was a responibility of a public company called Régie d'exploitation industrielle du protectorat (REIP) created in the early 1930s. The foundations for two important elements of today's water and sanitation sector - private concessions for water distribution in large cities and a national public company for bulk water supply - were thus already laid during the protectorate.

Nationalization after independence

After independence in 1956 water distribution systems were nationalized and handed over to public companies in the major cities, the so-called Régies. The bulk water supply system from the Oum Er-Rbia Rivermarker to Casablanca remained in the hands of the private concessionnaire SMD. Bulk water supply in the rest of the country was entrusted to a new national water company created in 1972, the Office National de l'Eau Potable (ONEP).

New water resources management law and rural water program (1995)

In 1995 a new, comprehensive Water Law (Loi 10-95) was passed. Aimed at changing the emphasis of water resources management from supply expansion to demand management it was considered a "paradigm shift" at the time. It foresees measures to promote water use efficiency, better allocation of water resources and the protection of water quality through the application of the user pays principle and the Polluter pays principle. The law also provided the legal basis for the establishment of river basin agencies for integrated water resources management, inspired by examples of such agencies in France and Spain, among other countries. In 1996 the Oum Er-Rbia agency was established as the first basin agency in Morocco. In 2000 agencies in the country's other six major basins were created. However, the basin agencies took many years and they still remain relatively weak entities. More than a decade after having been passed the law it is still not fully implemented.

Also in 1995, the government launched an ambitious Rural Water Supply Program (Programme d’approvisionnement groupé en eau potable des populations rurales - PAGER) to face the challenge of very low access to potable water in rural areas. The program is carried out by ONEP, whose responsibility was extended from urban to rural areas through the program (see also below under innovative approaches and international good practice).

Water privatization in the late 1990s

For details see Water privatization in Morocco

Since the Régie serving Casablanca had a poor service record the government decided in the mid 1990s to bring in a private company to manage the city's water, sewerage and power networks. A consortium called Lydec, led by Lyonnaise des Eaux (now SUEZ), was awarded the 30-year concession without a competitive tender in 1997. The Casablanca concession paved the way for subsequent concessions in Rabatmarker, Tangiersmarker and Tetouanmarker. While the Rabat concession was awarded directly to Vivendi in 1998, the concessions in Tangiers and Tetouan were awarded in 2002 after competitive bidding to Amendis, a subsidiary of Vivendi.

In 2000 the initial 50-year concession of SMD, a subsidiary of Lyonnaise, for bulk water supply to Casablanca was renewed.

National Sanitation Program

In 2003 the ONEP Law was amended to include sanitation (sewerage and wastewater treatment) in ONEP’s mandate. At the same time sewerage tariffs (redevance d’assainissement) were first introduced and a modest subsidy program was set up. In 2005 this policy was reinforced by the more ambitious National Sanitation Program (Programme National d'Assainissement - PNA).

Regrouping of ONEP and ONE

During a cabinet reshuffle after elections in 2007 the Ministry of Environment and Water on the one hand, and the Ministry of Energy and Mining on the other hand, were merged into a single "Super Ministry". Within the Ministry a State Secretary remains in charge of water and environment. The Ministry of Environment and Water had been created in 2002, grouping together responsibilities that were previously scattered over several Ministries.

In 2009 the Cabinet approved a bill (Loi 40 09) that foresees a strategic alliance (regroupement) between ONEP and the national electric utility ONE. The objective is to extend economies of scale in billing and maintenance, which are already achieved in the concessions and the Regies in the larger cities, to other areas of the country. According to media reports, the law foresees the creation of regional, public multi-utilities in charge of water supply, sanitation and electricity distribution in both urban and rural areas. The law could create around eight regional multi-utilities for water and electricity distribution. The bill is inspired by reform proposals that were formulated in a study by McKinsey for the Ministry of Interior in 2004. As of October 2009 the bill was awaiting approval by Parliament.

Innovative approaches and international good practice

The rural water supply program PAGER. In 2004 the national rural water supply program PAGER received the United Nations Public Service Award in the category improvement of public service results. The project relies on two basic principles: the use of simple technologies and the participation of beneficiaries in all stages of the project from the needs assessment to design, implementation and evaluation. The US$1bn program initiated in 1995 aims to reach 12 million people until 2010. The program has relieved women and children from the burden of carrying water. A 2001 World Bank evaluation showed that school enrollment in beneficiary communities increased by 16%.

According to official data and reports by the Moroccan media, PAGER increased access to water in rural areas from 14% in 1995 to 61% in 2004 and 77% in 2006. According to survey data, access to house connections in rural areas increased from 10% in 1995 to 20% in 2004. According to the same survey data access to an improved water source in rural areas remained constant between 1995 and 2004 at 58%. It remains unclear how the survey data and the data of PAGER can be reconciled. PAGER is a pure water supply program and does not have a component to improve rural sanitation, an important element to improve health outcomes.

Sector responsibilities

The key actors at the policy level in the sector are the Ministry of Energy, Mining, Water and Environment in charge of water resources management and the Ministry of Interior in charge of water supply and sanitation. At the level of service provision, key actors are the national water utility ONEP, 3 private operators and 13 municipally-owned utilities. The country's largest city, Casablancamarker, is served by the private operator Lydec. In addition to the above institutions, seven basin agencies are in charge of water resources management. These institutions are, however, still relatively weak.

Overall, the sector is characterized by a complex and fragmented institutional framework, which - according to a 2004 World Bank report - "has hindered the formulation of a comprehensive sector-wide vision and the establishment of coherent policy objectives".

Policy and regulation

The highest political authority in the Moroccan water sector rests with the Higher Council for Water and Climate (Conseil Supérieur de l'Eau et du Climat) under the Presidency of the King. It was created in 1996, replacing an earlier Higher Council created in 1981. It includes representatives of all the Ministries involved in water, representatives of regional governments and water user associations, as well as academics, professional associations and trade associations. Although the council is supposed to meet once a year as per its founding decree, it last met in 2001. Its last previous meeting was held in 1994. According to the same decree the secretariat function for the Council is assured by the Ministry of Public Works. However, all water-related functions were moved from the Ministry of Public Works to the newly created Ministry of Water and Environment in 2002.

Within the government of Morocco responsibilities for water supply and sanitation are shared by various Ministries. The Ministry of Energy, Mining, Water and Environment (Ministère de l'Energie, des mines, de l'eau et de l'environnement) is in charge of water resources management and bulk water supply, while the Ministry of Interior is in charge of supervising water distribution and sanitation carried out by municipal utilities. Within the Ministry of Interior the Direction de l’eau et de l’assainissement (DEA) assists local governments with water and sanitation issues, and plays an active role in planning, implementing, and supporting the operations of basic water and sewerage infrastructure. The Directorate of Public Utilities and Concessions (DRSC), also in the Ministry of the Interior, monitors the performance of Régies and concessions

Certain sector responsibilities are within the realm of other Ministries. The Ministry of Public Health (Ministère de la santé publique, MSP) is the main water quality regulator in the sector, responsible for setting and enforcing public health drinking water standards. The Directorate of Public Corporations and Privatization of the Ministry of Finance oversees the fiscal aspects of public utility operations, and the contracting of concessions. Furthermore, an Interdepartmental Commission on Prices approves proposals for tariff increases.

Water resources management

Seven river basin agencies are responsible for the management of water resources in Morocco. River basin agencies have a number of important responsibilities. They authorize water abstrations and wastewater discharges for all users, based on a basin master plan (Plan directeur d’aménagement intégré des ressources en eau, PDAIRE) that they prepare. They also collect charges for abstraction and effluent discharges. They are also supposed to provide financial help and technical assistance to service providers for the prevention of water pollution and the efficient use of water resources. They also monitor the quality and quantity of both surface and groundwater an are in charge of managing water-related emergencies. Finally, they should increase public awareness about water resources. The agencies cover the following basins ranked in the order of the available water resources in each basin: Sebou Rivermarker, Moulouya River, Oum Er-Rbia Rivermarker, Bou Regreg River, Tensift River, Loukkos River and the Souss-Massa basin. The means available to the basin agencies are largely insufficient to carry out their functions.

Service provision

There are four categories of urban service providers in Morocco: private concessionnaires (38% of urban water customers), municipal utilities (31%), the national public company ONEP (28%), and municipalities providing services directly (3%). De jure, according to the municipal code of 1976 (Charte Communale), amended in 2002 and 2008, public services such as water supply, sewerage and electricity distribution are the responsiblity of municipalities (communes). There are 1,547 municipalities in Morocco, including 249 urban and 1,298 rural municipalities. As mentioned above, some municipalities have delegated service provision to private concessionnaires. In other municipalities the Régies provide these services, often not on the basis of a specific contract. In the smaller municipalities ONEP often provides services, either with or without a contract (contrat de gestion déléguée) with the municipality. In the case of sewers, many smaller municipalities still provide this service directly, although there is a policy to gradually transfer sewer services to ONEP.

The 2008 amendment to the municipal code allowed for the creation of municipal associations (groupement d'agglomérations urbaines).

Private concessions

Four private multi-utility concessionaires provide drinking water, sewerage services and electricity in Casablancamarker, Rabatmarker, Tangiersmarker, and Tetouanmarker. Lydec, the concession holder in Casablanca, is owned by SUEZ Environnement (51%), the Moroccan insurance company RMA Watanya (15%) and the Moroccan investment company FIPAR-Holding (19.75%). In addition, 14.25% of the shares are traded on the Casablanca stock exchange since 2005. Amendis, the concession holder in Tangiers and Tetouan, and Radel, the concession holder in Rabat, are a subsidiaries of the French multi-national Veolia Environnement.

Municipal utilities: Régies autonomes

12 specialized municipally-owned public operators called Régies autonomes provide water in 12 medium to large cities. The same operators also provide sanitation in 11 cities and electricity distribution services in 7 cities. The largest of the cities served by Regies autonomes are Agadirmarker, Fesmarker, Marrakechmarker, Meknesmarker and Oujdamarker. Regies also exist in Chaouia, El Jadidamarker, Kenitramarker, Larachemarker, Safi, Tadla and Tazamarker. Many of these utilities are owned by several municipalities (Régies intercommunales). The Régie Autonome de Distribution de l’Eau et de l’Elecricité de Nador (RADEEN) was taken over by ONEP in about 2007 as a result of the utility's failure to properly to clean up the highly polluted lagoon of Nador.

The national utility ONEP

ONEP (Office National de l’Eau Potable) is a bulk water provider that produces 80 percent of the country's drinking water and sells much of it to the Regies and the private concessionnaires. It also distributes water directly to customers in about 500 medium to small towns. ONEP has also taken over sewerage services in more than 60 of the towns where it distributes drinking water. Furthermore, ONEP provides water through standposts to one third of the rural population that has access to an improved source of water.

The government plans to create a national public company ONEE («Office national d’électricité et d’eau potable») through an alliance between the power company ONE and ONEP.

Direct service provision by municipalities: Régies directes

40 municipalities in small towns serve 3 percent of urban customers with water (Régies directes) through "non-professional and underfunded municipal departments". They also provide sewerage services in 280 towns (2003).


The Moroccan Association for Water Supply and Sanitation (Association Marocaine de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement - AMEPA) is a trade association created in 1997 to "address upcoming challenges and defend the sector's interests". It has organized a number of national and international seminars and congresses in Morocco. It also participates in international conferences. In 2009 it had 120 members, including service providers, contractors, consulting firms and professional associations. Fassi Fihri, General Director of ONEP, was the President of AMEPA as of November 2009.

Financial aspects

Tariffs and affordability

Morocco has a complicated system of water and sanitation tariffs and fees that consists of a large array of tariffs at different stages of the water cycle: water abstraction, sale in bulk, retail sales, as well as the collection, treatment and discharge of wastewater. Urban tariffs are differentiated by locality, by the quantity consumed, and by the type of use (residential, public, commercial and industrial). Urban tariff review mechanisms vary furthermore depending on whether the service provider is private or public, the process for the latter being more complicated and cumbersome than for the former. In general, the level of urban water tariffs is high compared to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, making it hard to afford to the urban poor connected to the piped network. On the other hand, it is insufficient to allow for full cost recovery. Rural piped water tariffs are much lower. 11% of all users, including a large share of poor users in both urban and rural areas, receive water for free from standpipes.

Fees for water abstraction and wastewater discharge. ONEP and the Régies have to pay fees (redevances) for water abstraction and wastewater discharge to the basin agencies. These fees were introduced on the basis of the Water Law of 1995. Their level is low, not allowing the basin agencies to cover its own administrative costs, not to speak of contributing to the financing of investments by service providers as foreseen by the law. Since their introduction the level of the fees has not been adjusted, so that in inflation-adjusted terms the value of the already low fee has been further eroded.

Bulk water tariffs. ONEP charges tariffs for the supply of bulk water to the private operators and the Régies. These tariffs are reviewed by the government together with the tariffs for the Régies and ONEP's retail water and sewer tariffs. Bulk water tariffs differ from one city to the other taking into account production costs. For example, bulk water tariffs for Casabalanca, where the service provider is private, are twice as high as for the neighboring city Settat. There is a 5 % special tax on bulk water sales in order to finance the rural water supply program PAGER.

Retail water tariffs. The same retail tariff structure applies to the entire country. Water and sewer tariffs in Morocco follow an increasing-block tariff structure, under which the tariff per cubic meter is rises as consumption increases. The residential tariff has four blocks, the lowest applying to consumption of less than 6 m³ per month and the highest to consumption above 40 m³ per month. However, the level of retail tariffs varies from one locality to another. Standpipe services, which are common for the urban poor, are typically free. Utilities send bills to local governments. In a few cases, standpipe management has been entrusted to a gardien/gérant, who operates the faucet and charges users. According to a World Bank report, free standpipe services are pro-poor. But they are also increasingly unsustainable for operators, both in terms of wasted water (up to 40 percent) and in terms of lack of revenues. Operators are in favor of promoting individual connections in order to strengthen their revenue base.

Water and sewer retails tariffs were increased in 2006 throughout the country by reducing the size of the first block of the increasing-block tariff from 8 to 6 cubic meters per month and by increasing the fixed portion of the bill. The volumetric tariff for each tariff block remained unchanged. These modifications were equivalent to a 11% (check) tariff increase.

After the increase the average water tariff varied between Dirham 3.20 per m3 (US$0.29) in Meknes and Dirham 7.18 per m3 (US$0.66) in Casablanca. The sewer tariff varied between Dirham 0.59 per m3 (US$ 0.05) in Oujda and Dirham 1.64 per m3 (US$ 0.15) in Marrakech.

Connection fees. In urban areas one-time connection fees for water and sewer connections are paid to the respective service provider. The level of the fees is determined based on a formula that takes into account the length of the water and sewer network in the city, as well as the the length of the facade of each property (for water connection fees charged by ONEP, called taxe riveraine) or the area of the property (for all connection fees charged by the Régies and private operators, as well as for sewer connection fees charged by ONEP, all together called Participation au Premier Etablissement or PPE). These fees do not include the costs of actually establishing the connection from the service line in the street, which the beneficiary has to pay himself separately. As in other countries, it also does not cover the costs of plumbing installations inside the property. Connection fees to the water and sewer network are a major source of funding for service providers. At the same time their high level constitutes an obstacle to expand the network, despite a policy to allow poor customers to pay part of the connection fee in installments that are added to the monthly water bill over a period of between 5 and 10 years (branchements sociaux). These difficulties are illustrated by the example of Casablanca where an initial annual target of 10,000 social connections had been set, but only 1,250 were implemented every year until 2006. The National Human Development Initiative waives connection fees for selected poor urban neighborhoods

Average connection fees ranged from an equivalent of US$220 to 500 for water and US$ 880 to 1,650 for sewerage in 2004.However, according to another source, in 2008 the connection fee for sewerage charged by ONEP was only 1,600 Dirham (about US$145).

Affordability. Data from the National Household Living Standards Survey 1998/99 assessed total expenditures for water supply at MAD 84.8/person/year in urban areas and 147.4 MAD/person/year in rural areas, or 1.8 and 2.9 percent of average total per capita expenditure.

Cost recovery

While ONEP is financially autonomous from its tariff revenues, regies have to rely to a large extent on connection fees for their revenues.


The investments in the water and sanitation sector increased substantially between 2003 and 2005. In urban water distribution it increased from Dirham 0.9bn to 1.5bn, in rural water supply from Dirham 0.5bn to 0.8bn, in water production from 0.3bn to 0.6bn, and in sanitation from Dirham 1.1bn to 2.8bn. Overall investments doubled from Dirham 2.8bn (US$ 337m) to 5.7bn (US$ 687m).. Per capita investment in water supply and sanitation thus stood at US$21 per capita and year, a relatively high level compared to other middle-income countries.


Investments are financed from tariff revenues, various subsidies and transfers (grants and soft loans) by external partners. However, there are also substantial cross-subsidies. For example, bulk water tariffs charged by ONEP to the private concessionnaires and the Régies are higher than production costs. The surplus is used to cross-subsidize ONEP's activities in rural water supply and in sanitation, where tariffs do not cover costs.

Furthermore, according to a World Bank study of 2008, there is a cross-subsidy of about Dirham 1bn from electricity users who are charged distribution tariffs that are above costs. This allows the concessionnaires and the Régies to generate the revenue necessary to pay for the inflated tariffs for bulk water, which in turn allows ONEP to cross-subsidize rural water supply and sanitation at an amount that is also about Dirham 1bn.

External cooperation

External cooperation plays a major role in the Moroccan water and sanitation sector. External partners provide investment finance and technical assistance. Beginning in 2002 the African Development Bank, the European Union and subsequently the World Bank also provided budget support linked to the fulfillment of certain policy conditions. The major external partners in the sector are, in addition to the three named above, France, Germany and Japan. Other external partners are Belgium, the Islamic Development Bank, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Spain and the United States.

External partners work increasingly together to finance joint programs instead of financing specific projects. An example is the rural water supply program PAGER initiated in 1995 that was supported by Belgium, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Luxemburg and the World Bank. A more recent example is the support for the National Sanitation Program by the European Union, France and Germany.

African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has financed nine drinking water projects in Morocco since 1978. The total amount of its funding in the sector has been USD180 million until 2006, benefiting 20 Moroccan towns, in particular Tangiersmarker. On-going projects, all executed by ONEP, include the ninth drinking water and sanitation project, appraised in 2006, which benefits rural populations in four provinces and foresees wastewater treatment in three towns (Khouribgamarker, Oued Zem and Boujaâd) and the tenth drinking water supply project approved in 2008 which supports drinking water supply in Khéniframarker, Taounatemarker, Settatmarker, Marrakechmarker and Tamesna as well as neighbouring small towns. In 2003 the AfDB provided a loan to co-finance the Water Sector Adjustment Program (see below under EU).

European Union

The European Union supports the sector through grants, as well as through loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB has supported water supply and sanitation projects in six cities (Marrakech, Settat, Meknes, Agadir, Oujda and Fes), as well as a number of small towns. Between 1997 and 2006 it provided 10 loans totaling Euro 283m. In Fes it supported the construction of the first wastewater treatment plant in a large Moroccan city with EUR 20m. In 2006 it approved another loan of Euro 40m for sanitation in the Sebou basin, a highly polluted river where Fesmarker and Meknesmarker are located. In 2002 the European Union provided a Euro 120m grant to support the first water sector adjustment program to Morocco, which aimed at rationalizing water resources management. The program's specific objectives were to effectively implement the 1995 Water Framework Law , to reduce the costs for the state budget and to increase the effectiveness of the sector institutions.


Water supply and sanitation is a focal area of French development cooperation with Morocco. In 2007 the French Development Agency (AFD) supported projects with a value of Euro 130m for urban and rural water supply and Euro 145m for sanitation. Geographically the projects are concentrated in the Sebou river basin, in Agadirmarker and in Nadormarker. In Nador French aid contributes through a loan approved in 2007 to clean up the highly polluted lagoon of Nador, the largest lagoon in the Mediterranean. The clean-up plan for the bay is inspired by similar experiences in France (Contrats de Baie) under which different public players work together for the common goal to clean up a coastal bay.


Germany has supported the Moroccan water and sanitation sector since the early 1980s. Projects in the sector are administered by KfW in charge of investment projects, GTZ in charge of technical cooperation and InWent in charge of training. In 2009 the total volume of approved and on-going investment projects supported by KfW was Euro 407m, all executed by ONEP in small towns and rural areas. GTZ supports the Ministry of Energy, Mining, Water and Environment and three basin agencies (Tensift, Souss-Massa, and Oum er-Rbia) in improving the integrated and sustainable management of water resources. The Euro 12m project was initiated in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Islamic Development Bank

In 2006 the Islamic Development Bank provided two loans of Dirham 270 million (about Euro 27 million) for water supply. The projects are executed by ONEP.


Since 1994 JBIC has provided loans of Dirham 3.6 billion to ONEP. In 2008 JICA granted a 13.6 billion Yen (about Euro 90 million) loan to Morocco to finance rural water supply projects in the Provinces Chefchaouenmarker, Taounatemarker et Khéniframarker. The project will benefit 408 villages (douars) with 241,335 inhabitants and will be implemented until 2013. It is the most important loan provided by JICA and its predecessor JBIC to ONEP.


The Spanish government supports a number of water and sanitation projects in Morocco. A Euro 15m rural water and sanitation project implemented by ONEP in the provinces Alhucemas, Nadormarker, Taunat and Tazaand was approved in 2006. In the field of water resources management it supported the basin agency for the Loukkos River between 2003 and 2009, as well as the basin agency for the Molouya River in 2006/07.

United States

USAID supported improved water resources management in the Souss-Masa basin between 1999 and 2005.

World Bank

In 2009 the active portfolio of the World Bank included a US$60 million loan for a rural water supply and sanitation project approved in 2005 (implemented by ONEP) and a US$7 million grant from the Global Partnership for Output-based aid to increase urban access to water supply and sanitation (implemented by the Ministry of Interior). It also includes a US$100 million loan to support the National Human Development Initiative approved in 2006, of which water supply and sanitation is an element.
The World Bank also provided budget support through a US$100 million to Morocco through a Water Sector Policy Development Loan approved in 2007. It has been engaged in the Moroccan water and sanitation sector since 1972 with nine investment projects with a lending volume of more than US$500 million.

Further reading

Béatrice Allain-El Mansouri: La concession au privé de la gestion de l’eau potable et de l’assainissement liquide au Maroc ou La ville à l’épreuve de la bonne gouvernance, Centre Jacques Berque (Rabat), 2003

External links


  1. World Resources Institute: Water Resources and Freshwater Ecosystems: Morocco, accessed on October 28, 2009
  2. Mokhtar Bzioui, UN Water Africa: Rapport National 2004 sur les ressources en eau du Maroc, November 2004, p. 29-30
  3. Global Water Intelligence: Morocco to deliver boost to desalination sector, accessed on October 28, 2009
  4. World Bank and KfW:Revue stratégique du Porgamme National d'Assainissement, 2008, p. 4, quoting a study by Xanthoulis, Soudi and Khalayoune of 2001
  5. WHO/UNICEF:Joint Monitoring Program for Water and Sanitation: Coverage Estimates for Improved Drinking Water, 2008, quoting a 2003-04 survey on population and family health (Enquête sur la Population et la Santé Familiale) of the Pan-Arab Project for Family Health (PAPFAM)
  6. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water and Sanitation estimates that half of all springs are protected springs, and that this half can thus be considered an improved water source.
  7. EPSF, Morocco 2003/2004 (PAPFAM)
  8. WHO/UNICEF:Joint Monitoring Program for Water and Sanitation: Coverage Estimates for Improved Sanitation, 2008, quoting a 2003-04 survey on population and family health (Enquête sur la Population et la Santé Familiale) of the Pan-Arab Project for Family Health (PAPFAM)
  9. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 17
  10. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 70
  11. Claude de Miras and Xavier Godard: Les firmes concessionnaires de service public au Maroc:eau potable, assainissement et transport collectifs, in:Méditerrannée, No. 106 (2006), p. 114-117
  12. Office National de l'Eau Potable: Présentation ONEP, accessed on October 21, 2009
  13. Ministère de l'Equipement et du Transport: LES AGENCES DE BASSINS HYDRAULIQUES, accessed on October 21, 2009
  14. La Vie Eco: Lydec, Amendis, Rédal…, le modèle multiservice dupliqué dans toutes les régions du Royaume, September 21, 2009, accessed on October 21, 2009
  15. United Nations: UN Public Service Award Ceremony, Report of the Second Award Ceremony, 23 June 2004, New York, accessed on October 21, 2003
  16. Abdelbikr Zahoud, Secretary of State for Water: Presentation of PAGER at the UN, 2004, Slide 18, accessed on October 21, 2009
  17. Aujourd'hui le Maroc: Pager : de l’eau potable pour tous, accessed on October 21, 2009
  18. Secretary of State for Water: AMELIORATIONS APPORTEES PAR LE PAGER, accessed on October 21, 2009
  19. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p.4-5
  20. Secrétariat d'Etat chargé de l'Eau:, accessed on October 21, 2009
  21. Ministère de l'Equipement et du Transport: LES AGENCES DE BASSINS HYDRAULIQUES, accessed on October 21, 2009
  22. Mohamed Hachmi, Secrétariat d’État chargé de l’Eau et de l’Environnement: Agences de Bassins Hydrauliques & Gouvernance de l’eau, 8-9 July 2009, accessed on October 20, 2009
  23. Charte communale Maroc: La Chambre des conseillers adopte le projet de loi, accessed on October 5, 2009
  24. Lydec: Carte de visite, accessed on October 10, 2009
  25. Veolia Water in Morocco, accessed on November 28, 2009
  26. Moroccan Association for Water Supply and Sanitation (Association Marocaine de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement - AMEPA, accessed on October 21, 2009
  27. ONEP: M. Ali Fassi Fihri, Directeur Général de l’ONEP réélu Président de l’Association Marocaine de l’Eau Potable et de l’Assainissement (AMEPA) à l’issue de son Assemblée Générale, January 25, 2006, accessed on October 21, 2009
  28. Mathilde Tenneson and Dominique Rojat: LA TARIFICATION DE L’EAU AU MAROC : COMMENT SERVIR DIFFÉRENTES CAUSES?, Afrique Contemporaine, Dossier spécial no 205 2003/1, accessed on October 24, 2009
  29. L'Economiste: Eau et électricité: un vrai casse-tête, accessed on October 10, 2009
  30. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 18
  31. Royaume du Maroc:Revue Strategique du Programme National d'Assainissement, Banque Mondiale/KfW, 2008, p. 101
  32. Claude de Miras, Julien Le Tellier, Aahd Benmansour: Le modèle marocain de gouvernance de l'eau potable, Presentation in Saragossa, March 2007, Slide 5
  33. Claude de Miras, Julien Le Tellier, Aahd Benmansour: Le modèle marocain de gouvernance de l'eau potable, Presentation in Saragossa, March 2007, Slide 12
  34. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 77
  35. Royaume du Maroc:Revue Strategique du Programme National d'Assainissement, Banque Mondiale/KfW, 2008, p. 9
  36. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 28
  37. World Bank: Kingdom of Morocco. Recent Economic Developments in Infrastructure (REDI).Water Supply and Sanitation Sector, 2004, p. 58
  38. Revue strategique du PNA, 2008, p. 10
  39. Royaume du Maroc:Mécanismes et Flux de Financement du Secteur de l'Eau, Banque mondiale, Avril 2008, p. xii
  40. Secrétariat d'Etat chargé de l'Eau: AMELIORATIONS APPORTEES PAR LE PAGER, accessed on October 21, 2009
  42. African Development Bank : AfDB Approves 10th Drinking Water Supply Project in Morocco, November 19, 2008
  43. European Investment Bank: Loans to Morocco for water and sanitation, accessed on October 9, 2009
  44. Maroc Hebdo International: L'UE finance un programme d'ajustement du secteur de l'eau au Maroc, N° 499, 22-28 February 2002, accessed on October 20, 2009
  45. Délégation de la Commission Européenne au Maroc (Delegation of the European Commission in Morocco): PROGRAMME D’AJUSTEMENT STRUCTUREL DU SECTEUR DE L’EAU AU MAROC, no date, accessed on October 20, 2009
  46. Agence Française de Développement: L’AFD et le Maroc:Quinze ans de partenariat, 2007, accessed on October 20, 2009
  48. Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Marokko: La coopération financière avec le Royaume du Maroc dans le domaine de l'eau et de l'assainissement, Christoph Krieger, 2009, accessed on October 20, 2009
  49. Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer in Marokko: Programme Appui à la Gestion Intégrée des Ressources en Eau - AGIRE, Christine Werner, 2009, accessed on October 20, 2009
  50. ONEP: Communiqués de Presse ONEP, January 4, 2006, accessed on October 20
  51. Aujourd'hui le Maroc ONEP-JBIC : Un prêt de 908 millions DH, accessed on October 19, 2009
  52. ONEP, accessed on October 19, 2009
  53. Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation): Apoyo a la ONEP en su programa del abastecimiento de agua potable y el saneamiento a nivel rural Apoyo a la ONEP en su programa del abastecimiento de agua potable y el saneamiento a nivel rural
  54. Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation): Refuerzo institucional en materia de gestión integral del agua a través del apoyo al organismo de Cuenca del Lucos
  55. Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation): Apoyo a la Agencia del Muluya
  56. USAID Morocco: Program Data Sheet:Improved Water Resources Management in the Souss-Massa River Basin, accessed on October 11, 2009
  57. World Bank: Projects Search Water and Sanitation in Morocco, accessed on October 11, 2009

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