Golf funds Marrakech water plant


Sean Dudley
By Adam Lawrence

Golf development is playing a major role in improving the quality of life for the million-plus inhabitants of the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Cash provided by a number of the golf resorts currently being developed around the city was crucial in funding the construction of Marrakech’s first waste water treatment plant. Until the plant’s recent opening, the city, whose population has grown dramatically in recent years as Morocco has become more urbanised, had no sewage treatment facility. Up to 100,000 cubic metres of effluent was previously deposited into the natural environment, mainly palm groves, fields, and a dry river bed (wadi).

Golf tourism is a rapidly-growing business in the Marrakech region, with several courses already open and more in construction and planning. If all the courses currently planned are built, the area will have 24 golf courses. For a contribution of €2.7 million, money that has helped to fund the construction of the plant, resort developers were able to buy an annual supply of treated sewage effluent (TSE), which can be used to irrigate both courses and other parts of resorts.

Up till now, Marrakech’s existing golf courses have primarily been irrigated using water taken from natural aquifers and fed by annual melt from the nearby Atlas Mountains. A total of 33 million cubic metres of TSE will be produced by the plant annually, and will also be used for irrigating agricultural land and to recharge the area’s water table.

The project, which includes 60 km of piping, as well as four pumping stations, became operational at the end of 2010. It is valued at MAD 1.08 billion (US$128 million).