' Manifestations of thirst ' against water shortages in southern Morocco
"Life without water is a hell!", said Rizkou Abdel, President of the Moroccan Association for human rights (AMDH) in Zagora, the city in southern Morocco which is hit hardest by this water crisis.
"The situation is critical, it is a daily suffering for the residents," said Jamal Akchbabe, President of the "Association of friends of the environment of Zagora '.
Since the beginning of summer "are families several days without tap water, others have only a few hours a day", says Akchbabe. "This water is undrinkable, so people buy drinking water that is sold in large bottles", he added.
To be heard have the inhabitants of Zagora different organized peaceful demonstrations, initially tolerated by the authorities. But on 24 september have security agents intervened to drive each other out for a demonstration and arrested seven people, who were prosecuted for "taking part in an unauthorized demonstration," said the local President of the AMDH.
On 8 October, during a new demonstration, security officials in the city have "violent has occurred".Â There were 21 people arrested that day, which for the same charges be indicted, during "clashes between protesters and the authorities," said Akchbabe. "The protesters are suppressed, insults and humiliates. The city is in a State of siege ", he criticized.
The origin of this water shortage is a shortage of rainfall in combination with the overuse of ground water for agriculture, especially for "the cultivation of watermelon that consumes a lot of water," said Akchbabe.
"Zagora is not the only region that suffers from the lack of water", warns Abdelmalek Ihazrir, scientific and author of a thesis on the Moroccan water policy. "This also applies to the Middle Atlas, the Rif Rhamna, (...), the reduction of the rain causes an over-utilisation of groundwater over the country", he said, and then he calls for "a new, more rational policy and alternative methods".
In Rabat is the issue as a priority on the agenda of the Government and the King himself is concerned about the water scarcity. On the Executive side be meetings held to find solutions. At the end of september the Government promised the head of Saad Eddine El Othmani "emergency and strategic measures". On sat King Mohammed VI for the Council of Ministers and he called the head of the Government to set up a Commission to solve this issue in the coming months. That Committee has now been set up.