Moroccan capital eyes greater reuse capacity

Subscription required

As a guest you can read up to 3 full articles before a subscription is required.

You can read a further 2 articles for free.

Subscribe Now, Sign up for a Free Trial, Log In

A new study into water reuse in Rabat could broaden the city’s water resourcing options. Further inland, Marrakech has already seen the light.

The company in charge of water and wastewater services in the Moroccan capital Rabat is considering using treated wastewater to irrigate the city’s green spaces. Redal, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, launched a tender for a six-month feasibility study in December, setting interested parties a deadline of 15 January to submit their bids.

The contract is expected to be awarded in February, and the successful bidder will be responsible for collecting data and information on water reuse in the Rabat- Salé area, identifying sites that could benefit from the scheme, and defining implementation costs.

“Morocco suffers from a genuine shortage of water, so we must ask ourselves whether we could re-use at least some of the 200,000m3 [of untreated effluent] we send out to sea every day,” Olivier Dietsch, chief executive of Veolia Environnement Maroc, told GWI.

“The aim of the study is to find out how much secondary treatment – necessary to bring the wastewater to irrigation standard – and the transportation of the treated water, either by secondary network or water tankers, would cost compared to the current practice of using water from the main public network,” Dietsch said.

Redal has already launched a tender for the construction of a 100,000m3/d pretreatment WWTP, and hopes to have the study finished in time to plan potential investments for 2010.

Morocco only treats about 8% of its wastewater, but the relatively high cost of reuse has prevented it from featuring more widely in the forthcoming crop of wastewater projects designed to increase the country’s treatment capacity. Only the new 90,000m3/d WWTP at Station Nord in Marrakech, awarded to a consortium led by Golden State Environment last autumn, includes a reuse element, although the tertiary treatment and secondary network elements of the project are being financed by end users (mostly golfers). The projected capex for these elements is MAD208 million (USD24.5 million), with annual operating expenditure estimated at MAD21.4 million (USD2.5 million).

Similar conditions will apply to the forthcoming 62,000m3/d wastewater treatment plant planned for Station Sud. This plant will also serve Marrakech, and completion is due to take place by 2015.

Saïd Housni, head of the technical division of the Direction des Régies et Services Concédés at the Ministry of Interior, says that a number of large-scale tourism developments are now including water reuse in their plans, particularly those that feature golf courses. The new Urbagolf project in Safi, for instance, predicts that reused water from the development’s wastewater treatment plant will provide 60% of the golf course’s watering needs.

“We are aware of the potential that reuse represents, so we are encouraging water operators to carry out studies and consider re-using treated wastewater,” Housni told GWI. “But it is costly, so it cannot be a blanket solution. It will have to be [assessed] on a case-by-case basis.”