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Morocco acts to conserve water

Moroccans are told to save water   -  
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Climate change and a harsh summer have led to a severe drop in water reserves in Morocco.

Faced with a reduction in rainfall levels, the authorities decided in July to ban the use of drinking water to irrigate green spaces and wash cars amongst other measures.

The decision is aimed at preventing the uncontrolled use of drinking water for any other purpose apart from human consumption.

"The decision is very difficult on me because I am used to resorting to a car wash to get my car clean. But now despite how busy life already is, I have to clean my car myself from time to time" said Mustapha Yassine, a resident in Rabat.

Since last year, the reserves in the dams have gone down by 80%, according to figures from Morocco's ministry of equipment.

Another Rabat resident, Abdellah Hassouni, added "we the people took these decisions positively and tried to pass along the basic piece of information: it is important to conserve water, a basic substance needed in life and something that could become scarce in 10 or 20 years".

Agriculture accounts for 80% of water consumption in the country, and poor practices like the overexploitation of groundwater have stretched resources thin.

"Today, the water reserve situation in Morocco has become worrying, as is the case in neighbouring countries due to climate change conditions and the harshness of this summer, which has brought high temperatures. Temperatures have reached their highest levels at 48 and 49 degrees Celsius (118°F-120°F) in the southern and eastern regions, which led to the depletion of big puddles and large reserves of water", confirmed Mustapha Laissate, president of Green Carpet Association in Rabat.

Morocco is aiming to build 100 large dams, 1,000 small dams and 20 seawater desalination plants by 2030.

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