Morocco - Creating artificial rain and watershed basin agencies


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Morocco is one of the first countries in Africa to create artificial rain. Its efforts have had a significant impact on domestic irrigation and hydroelectric power. The country has also set up watershed basin agencies. These agencies are a way to ensure integrated, sustainable, decentralized, and participatory water management.

More clouds over Morocco

Traditional societies have resorted to tribal prayers and dance rituals to induce rain. Morocco has taken a more scientific approach. For over three decades, the country has been developing high-tech solutions to fight drought, increase snow coverage and better understand precipitation. The Kingdom launched these projects after the drought years of 1978-1982.

The chief focus is Morocco's programme to develop artificial precipitation. Rain can be induced by flying through clouds and spreading a combination of silver, sodium and acetone. However, the technique functions properly only under specific conditions. In particular, clouds must be extremely cold. To determine when they have reached a suitable temperature, the sky must be observed with radar and other sophisticated technology.

Thanks to the support of the Moroccan Royal Air Force, the programme has an aircraft equipped with an acetone burner generator, which is needed to induce rain. But to send the plane into the sky at the right moment requires high technology. This is why the programme has developed a high-tech procedure for meteorological monitoring.

Artificial rain creates a significant additional quantity of water, which has a direct impact on domestic irrigation and hydroelectric power. An economic assessment of Morocco's programme revealed that inducing 10 percent more rain can generate up to 3.37 percent in additional profit linked to the use of this water.

Artificial rain creates a significant additional quantity of water, which has a direct impact on domestic irrigation and hydroelectric power.

Other countries have benefited from Morocco's experience. Burkina Faso was the first country that took up Morocco's offer of assistance after a significant rainfall deficit in 1998. Now other states such as Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mali, Cameroon, Cape Verde and Mauritania are working to induce rain in order to tackle hunger.

A watershed moment

Morocco doesn't get much rain. Average annual rainfall stands at approximately 1,000 millimetres. At the same time, the country's economy, which relies significantly on agriculture, is highly dependent on water. Water shortages have become persistent and should be taken into consideration when devising future water resource management policies.

Water and Development
Water and Development

Watershed basin agencies have been created to address these challenges. The purpose in establishing watershed basin agencies is to arrive at an integrated, sustainable, decentralized, and participatory form of water management. The agencies' mission consists of assessing, planning, and managing water resources in the country's water basins.

Agencies may grant loans, aid or subsidies to any person investing in water-resource development or conservation. Their funding comes from fees collected from water users, as well as from borrowed funds, subsidies and donations. Thanks to the flexibility of these agencies, all water users can benefit from their financial support and technical assistance.


Focus Areas

Geographic Scope




Background and Significance


Goal and Objectives

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions






Results and Impact

Lessons for Replication

Main Results

Outlook (Conclusions and Next Steps)

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions


See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

External Resources

EarthTrends Country Profile: Morocco

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems - Morocco Case (GIAHS) In 2002 FAO initiated a wide programme on conservation and adaptive management of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS) aiming to establish the basis for the global recognition, conservation and sustainable management of such systems and their associated landscapes, biodiversity, knowledge systems and cultures.

Moroccon Khetara

Interviewees and Key Contacts


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