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Morocco advances with its major dam building programme

Morocco’s plans to expand its water storage capacity through the construction of a series of dams across the North African country have made important steps in recent times.

The Directorate of Hydraulic Develop­ments (DAH) of the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, awarded contracts to local contractors in October and Nov­ember for the construction of two new large dams and the heightening of an existing large dam, while also launching a tender for the building of a further dam.

The dams are among more than 20 large water storage structures that are planned to be built within the framework of the 2020-2027 national programme for drinking water supply and irrigation.

The programme aims to increase the water storage capacity of national dams to 27 x 109 m3. The four dams are among five for which construction was scheduled to go ahead this year at a combined cost of around MAD 7 billion (US$ 755.75 million). Bids were invited in October for the construction of the Tamri dam in the southern coastal province of Agadir, the last of the five dams to be launched this year. The Tamri dam, at an estimated cost of around MAD 1.8 billion (US$ 193.4 million), will create a reservoir with a storage capacity of around 300 x 106 m3.

Construction began earlier this year on the Oued Al-Khder dam in the central province of Azilal.

In October the DAH confirmed the award of a contract worth MAD 886.48 million (US$ 95.8 million) to Bioui Travaux to build the Kheng Grou dam in the northeastern province of Figuig while Houar was awarded a MAD 993.3 million (US$ 107.3 million) contract to build the Taghzirt dam in the north-central province of Béni Mellal. The Kheng Grou dam is designed to impound a reservoir with a maximum storage capacity of 1.069 x 109 m3, principally for the supply of water for domestic consumption and irrigation, as well as for flood control. The Taghzirt dam on the Oued Derna is designed to impound a reservoir with a storage capacity of 83 x 106 m3, and will provide water storage for domestic consumption and irrigation, as well as electricity from an associated hydro plant. In mid-November SGTM was awarded a contract worth MAD 773.7 million (US$ 83.5 million) to heighten the Imfout dam in the central coastal province of Settat. The project, expected to take five years, is designed to increase the water storage capacity of the reservoir tenfold to 90 x 106 m3. Contracts were also awarded in October for technical support for the construction of the Kheng Grou and Taghzirt dams. Novec, a local state-controlled engineering consultancy will act as owner’s engineer on behalf of the DAH for the Kheng Grou dam and, in a partnership with Alkhibra, for the Taghzirt dam. The contracts, worth MAD 45.48 million (US$ 4.9 million) for Keng Grou and MAD 44.89 million (US$ 4.85 million) for Taghzirt, cover the elaboration of technical design and implementation plans for the construction of the dams, the ancillary works and access roads to the dam site, geological and geotechnical studies, follow-up hyd­raulic model tests, the verification of the technical design by the hydromechanical and electromechanical equipment suppliers, and the supervision of works and technical support throughout construction.

A total of four large dams with a combined water storage capacity of 448.4 x 106 m3 have been completed in 2021 at a total cost of about MAD 3.58 billion: Kaddoussa in the province of Errachidia (220 x 106 m3); Kharroub in the province of Larache (185 x 106 m3); Toudgha in the province of Tingir (33 x 106 m3) and Sidi Abdellah in the province of Taroudat (10.4 x 106 m3). Construction is underway on a further 15 large dams that will impound reservoirs with a total water storage of 4.81 x 109 m3 at a combined cost of MAD 21.46 billion. The most ad­vanced of these projects is Tidas in the province of Khemisset; Agdz in the province of Zagora and Midas in the northern-central province of Sefrou. Construction of another five dams at an estimated total cost of MAD 8.5 billion is programmed to be launched in 2022. Beni Mansour in the northwestern provinces of Tét­ouan and Chefchaouen, Dar Mi­moun and Bouhamed in the province of Chefchaouen; Ribate El Kheir in the province of Sefrou and Tadi­ghoust in the eastern province of Errachidia are designed to impound reservoirs with a combined storage capacity of 1510 x 106 m3. Morocco currently has 149 large dams with a combined maximum storage capacity of 19.1 x 109 m3 as well as 136 small dams.

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