EBRD grants EUR120 million loan to Morocco Saïss Water Conservation Project

First national bank

The EBRD has confirmed that it will grant a EUR120 million loan to the Saïss Water Conservation Project in Morocco that will help protect the country’s agricultural sector from the impact of climate change.

EBRD’s financing for the Saïss Water Conservation Project for the construction of irrigation infrastructure is being supported by a co-financing grant of EUR32 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

In Morocco, extreme water scarcity is being exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, and the unsustainable use of groundwater is leading to a reduction in groundwater reserves, posing a severe threat to agricultural production and rural livelihoods.

The Bank’s investment in the Morocco Saïss Water Conservation Project will improve climate resilience with support for the development of a transformative water transfer scheme that will deliver more than 100 million cubic metres of irrigation water to the Saïss plain each year.

It will enable a switch from highly unsustainable groundwater to the use of sustainable surface water resources, as well as improving access to best-practice and efficient irrigation techniques.

Ms Veilleux-Laborie, said: “This investment is very important for Morocco to strengthen Morocco’s infrastructure and to secure sustainable water resources. Via this project we will foster greater private sector involvement and we will contribute to the development of Agriculture in the country, a key sector that provides 40 per cent of total employment.”

The investment will also bolster community involvement in water governance by scaling up technical skills and institutional capacities and promoting private sector involvement in the adoption of improved, modern irrigation infrastructure and equipment. This will increase the efficiency of water use and services and promote drip irrigation and modern water demand management methods, strengthening the capacity for climate change adaptation in the Sebou-Saïss basin.

The GCF is a unique global initiative responding to climate change by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development. It was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and to help adapt vulnerable societies to the impacts of climate change.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD and became a country of operations in 2012. To date, the Bank has invested about EUR1.2 billion in 30 projects in the country.

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