Seawater desalination: The State and OCP sign an MoU for the production of drinking water in El Jadida and Safi

The Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch, chaired, this Wednesday in Rabat, the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding and a concession contract between the State and the OCP group, relating to an emergency plan production of drinking water by desalination of sea water for the Safi and El Jadida utilities.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by the Minister of Economy and Finance, the Minister of Equipment and Water, the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, on the one hand and by the CEO of OCP on the other.

It is part of the implementation and acceleration of the National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation (PNAEPI) 2020-2027, presented to King Mohammed VI, in particular in its component relating to the mobilization of unconventional water, through the programming of seawater desalination stations.

Indeed, faced with the current context marked by exceptional drought, and in order to relieve the hydraulic basin of Oum-Er-Rbia and avoid the risk of disruption of drinking water supply for the population of the region, the government had decided , from February 2022, to set up a complementary program including the development of a strategic partnership with OCP for the long-term and sustainable mobilization of water resources, through the desalination of seawater.

Objective: 110 million m3 per year from 2026

To this end, a shared seawater desalination project has been launched, as part of an emergency plan, with the aim of producing drinking water to supply the Safi utilities. and El Jadida, as well as to meet the industrial needs of OCP.

As part of OCP’s “water neutrality” strategy, this project, which promotes the use of green energy, aims to use exclusively non-conventional water (treated wastewater and desalinated seawater) for its industrial operations.

This emergency plan will make it possible to produce and deliver in a first stage, 85 million m3 per year during the period 2023 – 2025 and in a second stage 110 million m3 per year from 2026.

With regard to the production of drinking water, the emergency plan aims to ensure in 2023 (in proportion to the months of actual production), 10 million m3 for the Safi management and 30 million m3 for the EL management. Jadida.

For the years 2024 and 2025, the targeted volume is 15 million m3 per year for the Safi utility and 32 million m3 per year for the El Jadida utility. From 2026, a volume of 30 million m3 per year for the Safi management and 45 million m3 for the El Jadida management.

Concerning the production of water for industrial use, the emergency plan aims to ensure, in the long term, the mobilization of 35 million m3 of treated desalinated water, per year.

From 2026, the utilities will thus benefit from 75 million m3 of desalinated water per year for the needs of public services and 35 million m3 per year will be allocated for industrial use by OCP.

Seawater desalination will be carried out in four desalination units, two of which are located at the Jorf Lasfar industrial site and two others located in Safi.

A seawater desalination concession contract between the State and OCP Green Water was also signed by the Minister of Equipment and Water and OCP Green Water.

Securing project funding

This concession contract concerns the right to desalinate seawater to supply drinking water at competitive costs to the managers of public drinking water distribution services, namely the Autonomous Water and Electricity Distribution Board of El Jadida and the autonomous inter-municipal water and electricity distribution company of the province of Safi, as well as industrial water to the OCP group.

Added to this is a continuous effort on technologies, energy and the cost of inputs, as well as research and development at UM6P.

This ceremony was also marked by the signing of a contract relating to the terms of financing of this project, signed by the Minister of Equipment and Water, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, in charge of the Budget and the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior.

The Head of Government recalled on this occasion, the great concern with which the Sovereign surrounds the strategic question of water, which was the subject of high royal guidelines contained in the royal speech on the occasion of the opening of the second legislative year of the eleventh legislature, and during the three working sessions chaired by King Mohammed VI on this issue.

The Head of Government called on all the parties concerned to ensure that all the conditions necessary for the success of this project, which represents an important component of the Kingdom’s policy in terms of dealing with water stress, are put in place, alongside the interconnection of hydraulic basins, the programming of new dams and the increase in capacity for the reuse of treated wastewater.

A strategic committee will oversee the strategic management of this emergency plan, assisted by a monitoring committee.

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