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(en) France, UCL AL #347 - Ecology, Morocco: A drought that never ends (ca, de, fr, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 8 Apr 2024 10:36:10 +0300

In Morocco, for six years now, a drought has set in. This drought, combined with productivist political choices, is leading the country into an impasse. ---- On January 23, 2024, water restriction measures were applied to Casablanca (economic capital of the country with 3.89 million inhabitants). Among these measures, the closure of hammams three days a week. Far from being a luxurious place of well-being, the hammam in Morocco is a central place in neighborhood life where neighbors meet at least once a week. In addition, in certain neighborhoods, it allows access to shared baths for those who do not have one in their homes. Faced with the forced closure of these places, resignation is required and criticism is marginal.

However, the political choices of recent years have only reinforced the water crisis. In fifteen years, with the Green Morocco Plan (developed by McKinsey) then its successor Generation Green 2020-2030, Morocco has transformed its agriculture to increase the number of fruit trees at the expense of cereals. The objective is the export of products with "high added value"[1]. One example is the explosion in avocado production, partly boosted by the investment of the Israeli group Mehadrin. Avocado is one of the most water-intensive fruits and dries up many regions in the world[2].

Desalination: false good solution
In addition, unequal measures are being put in place, such as the deployment of large canals which divert water from the northern countryside to cities further south in order to avoid shortages. This is how, on December 18, 2023, the running water in Casablanca was not cut off[3]. However, these transfers greatly dry up the countryside where the most precarious population resides.

The seawater desalination solution is put forward as a magic solution. This techno-solutionist posture makes it possible to maintain a smokescreen over the structural water problem. Desalinating seawater to make drinking water has significant environmental consequences (high consumption of energy, mainly fossil fuels, and release of chemicals)[4].

These so-called adaptability solutions are common today. But this notion is doubly disingenuous. First, like desalination plants, it creates this imaginary where we could live with environmental crises. However, what will adapt is the productive and destructive system at the expense of the quality and possibility of life for the majority of living things. Secondly, this effort at adaptability rests, in fact, on the countries suffering and not on those at the origin of the crises.

This posture is an illustration (among many others) of the colonial relations between the countries of the global North and the global South. It is in this capitalist and colonial domination that the main responsibility for this water crisis in Morocco lies. At a time when environmental crises are becoming stronger and stronger, our social camp must take decolonial ecology into account to perfect its analysis and strategy.

Léo and Oum (UCL Grenoble)

To validate

[1]Highlighted on the website of the Moroccan Department of Agriculture: Agriculture.gov.ma/fr/data-agri/plan-maroc-vert.

[2]Lopez Khi, Ana, The lawyer: subtle flavor for a bitter trade, Libertarian Alternative, no. 346, February 2024.

[3]Collas, Aurélie, Drought in Morocco: "Nothing grows here anymore", Le Monde, January 26, 2024.

[4]Chauvin, Hortense, Desalinating sea water: false solution, real ecological disaster, Reporterre, April 19, 2023.

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