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Business Opportunities Report for Reuse of Wastewater in Morocco

Business Opportunities Report by work4water, commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Executive Summary

Located in a predominantly arid to semi-arid climatic zone, Morocco is facing an increasing challenge of water scarcity. Water demand exceeds water availability, with groundwater being depleted predominantly for agricultural purposes. As such, there is a need for renewable fresh water, the usage of which currently stands at 2.5 billion m3 per year from various sources. Wastewater in Morocco, if treated and re-used, could generate more than 13% of Morocco’s total water demand. This highlights the significance and importance of wastewater treatment for Morocco.

The standard supply chain for wastewater reuse starts from the generation point, through collection, transportation, storage, treatment and, ultimately, reuse of safe discharge. Sources of wastewater include domestic wastewater for both urban and rural areas, industrial wastewater and rainwater. This report focuses on the treatment of wastewater. In Morocco, wastewater service providers include the autonomous municipal utilities (Régies), Municipalities, ONEE and private companies.

Morocco has achieved a significant improvement in the wastewater sector in the last ten years. 123 wastewater treatment plants have been built, increasing the treatment capacity to 900 million m3 per year. Indicatively, 75% of the total population of 34 million is connected to the sewer network, with 62% connected to wastewater treatment plants. The Moroccan National Water Plan (PNA) for 2020 -2030 was designed to fill the gap in wastewater treatment capacity and spur growth in the sector. The annual target recommended by the PNA is 325 million m3 of wastewater to be reused by 2030.

Reuse projects generally include advanced treatment, dependent on the reuse purpose, and reuse infrastructure (distribution network), be it nationwide or at the local level. The most complicated part of the chain is the treatment. Treatment requires innovation and advanced technology, whereas the distribution networks that service treated wastewater don’t require sophisticated technologies. As such, this report focuses on wastewater treatment plants, as this is not only the bottleneck in Morocco’s case but also where Dutch expertise, technology and businesses can benefit most.

'Electricité et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE) and the Autonomous municipal utilities (Régies) are planning the construction or expansion of 34 WWTPs. The investments in wastewater treatment plants are estimated at around EUR 300 million. Netherlands is a pioneer in this field with innovative technologies that have been successfully implemented in full scale in various countries across the world. As such, the Dutch have a competitive advantage with regards to the reuse of wastewater, so this also offers a strategic market entry opportunity for Dutch businesses to the Moroccan wastewater sector. In order to ensure efficient reuse of wastewater, consideration has to be given to various reuse aims. Within municipalities, wastewater can be reused for industrial, domestic, natural and agricultural purposes, with agriculture accounting for the largest proportion of wastewater reused.

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In the context of Dutch wastewater technology and expertise, opportunities lie in treatment schemes for the different water qualities required for different reuse aims. Specifically, in domestic wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), industrial WWTP, sludge management and training. WWTP: there is an opportunity in WWTP construction projects in Morocco, through public tenders that will be listed over the coming 2 years. Within the framework of the PNA, the Office National de l'Electricité et de l'EauPotable (ONEE) and the Autonomous municipal utilities (Régies) are planning the construction or expansion of 34 WWTPs. Training: Morocco, given its location, could act as a hub to provide wastewater management experts and professionals to the rest of the region. Sludge Management: there are currently institutional and organisational obstacles and shortcomings in the regulation that hinder the fast development of this sector. There is limited experience at the national level, with not enough knowledge of and know-how about the technical options for sludge management, treatment, disposal reuse, etc. This provides a good entry point for the Dutch industry. 

The wastewater treatment sector in Morocco will grow over the coming years, as will the need to reuse treated wastewater. The Dutch have technology and expertise in WWTP that applies itself well in the context of Morocco.

Experts from work4water, The Hague Netherlands

 Ms. Hala Alhamed, MSc. I.W.R.M.

Mr. Mostafa Biad, Eng. - MBA

Ms. Sondos Saad PhD in Waste Water Engineering