Climate Opportunities & Partnerships

Middle East & Africa


800M Euro Desalination Tender in Morocco - Winners to be Announced Mid 2023

At least six consortiums led by several large international groups have formulated offers, including Israeli IDE

Jan 22, 2023 / 3 Min
Photo: William2029 on Flickr

The Moroccan National Electricity and Water Office (ONEE) is implementing a large scale desalination project as part of the Priority Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation Programme 2020-2027 (PNAEPI), launched in January 2022. 


800 million euros will be needed to build the future seawater desalination plant intended to supply 200 million cubic meters of water per year, for irrigation and drinking water supply in the cities of Casablanca, Settat, Berrechid, Azemmour and El Jadida. The aim is to reduce the pressure on surface water, whose reserves have fallen drastically due to the drought in the Casablanca-Settat region.


At least six consortiums led by several large international groups have formulated offers to ONEE: The Suez group, the world specialist in water and environmental management, which has joined forces with the Japanese company Itochu and Navera, the subsidiary of the Moroccan group Al Mada; The Spanish Abengoa Agua which has joined forces with Engie, the consortium formed by Tedagu; The Chinese Sepco III; Fipar Power Holding of Morocco, and Acwa Power, an IPP based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Israeli desalination specialist IDE Technologies has teamed up with Japan’s Mitsui to form a consortium with General Society of Works Morocco (SGTM) and Maghreb Civil Engineering Society (SOMAGEC). The successful bidders will be announced in May 2023.


This stage of the project should be completed in 2026. A second phase will extend the capacity of the Casablanca-Settat seawater desalination plant to 300 million cubic meters per year by 2030.


The Energy Factor

Energy represents 45% of the total cost of desalination, ONEE head Abderrahim El Hafidi said.


Morocco relies for most of its power production on imported fossil fuels whose surging costs have added to the trade deficit.


Morocco wants to expand renewables as a share of its total power output to 52% by 2030 from 20% now to reduce dependence on imports and lower electricity costs.


All the new desalination plants were meant to be powered by renewable energy. But, the Agadir plant recently opened is so far being powered directly from the national grid. A source close to the project said the government is considering a tender for a renewable energy plant to power the Agadir desalination facility to reduce the cost of water.


Sources: Afrik21, Reuters