Living in, moving to or visiting Morocco and wondering if the tap water is safe to drink? As usual the answer is not entirely straight forward but approximately 83% of the population has access to improved tap water which means it’s treated and tested according to WHO standards. However, as you will find in this article issues remain and therefore the safest thing long term is to use a water filter.
In this article we will explore the quality of tap water, bottled water and the best water filters for Morocco.
Where does the water come from?
Most drinking water comes from 7 rivers. The seven rivers from North to South are the Loukkos River, the Moulouya River, the Sebou River, the Bou Regreg River, the Oum Er-Rbia River, the Tensift River and the Souss-Massa-Drâa basin. Except for the Loukkos River, all these rivers originate in the Atlas Mountains.
About 69% of drinking water comes from these rivers and dams and the other 31% from groundwater. Morocco is forecasted to receive less rainwater in the near future however which means the country is expected to face water shortages. Therefore Morocco is increasingly looking towards seawater desalination as a source to supply its increasing water needs for drinking, industry and mining.
Who regulates the tap water in Morocco
The Ministry of Public Health, together with ONEP, is in charge of quality control for water resources for drinking water supply networks in the cities. The National Office for Drinking Water, is in charge of controlling water distribution in urban areas and in some rural municipalities. It plans, builds and operates the installations for treatment and transport from the primary water sources, i.e. reservoirs and canals. This responsibility includes transportation to local water companies as well as directly to end users. ONEP is also responsible for wastewater management.
16 autonomous, inter-communal state-owned water companies, which are placed under the Ministry of Interior and supervised by the Directorate for state-owned companies and services. They are in charge of water distribution in the municipalities
How is the tap water treated and delivered to the tap?
Morocco uses a combination of publicly owned and privately owned water companies to treat and deliver water to citizens. For example in Casablanca and surrounding area this is managed by Lydec under a 30 year concession. Lydec is controlled by Suez which is one of the leading water treatment providers in the world. Lydec mostly gets it’s supply of water from the Oum er-Rbia river.
In 2011, this means that 59% of Moroccans had access to piped water in their house or in the yard of their house. In urban areas this mean that 83% of households have access to drinking water from the tap (as of 2011).
Similar arrangements are made in other cities including Fez, Tangier, Sale, Meknes, Rabat, Marrakesh and Agadir where the water is treated and monitored in accordance with WHO standards.
Is the tap water in Morocco safe to drink?
In February 2018 Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani publicly stated that drinking water in Morocco is safe for human consumption and that he himself consumes tap water.
In the same context, the Head of Government assured citizens that the laboratory conducts analyses that follow the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in coordination with the Ministry of Health.
So yes, officially the water in Morocco is safe to drink thanks to water treatment, chlorination and monitoring and maintenance of the water delivery system.
However, the reason for the appearance of the PM was that issues had been uncovered which meant that distrust in public tap water is growing. One of these incidents was leakage of contaminants into the main water supply for Casablanca.
One problem is that the government has been slow to react and often lacked transparency in it’s communication.
In addition to this, several reports have highlighted elevated levels of nitrates as an issue in Morocco.
Short term these and other water quality issues won’t make people sick but longer term they may impact the health of children and adults.
What is the best water filter for Morocco?
Based on the potential water quality issues in Morocco a water filter is definitely a good idea. There’s lots of alternatives out there ranging from expensive under the sink reverse osmosis to cheap Brita carafes. What’s the best water filter for Morocco tap water?
As explained above the main tap water issues are taste and chlorine bi-products as well as potential contaminants from agriculture run-off (pesticides, herbicides, nitrates), industrial spillage and pipe corrosion. All of these substances will be removed with a high quality activated carbon filter such as TAPP 2.
TAPP Water products are available through Clever Hat in Morocco.
Read more about
- TAPP 2 detailed product description
- How water filters work
- How TAPP 2 compares to PUR, Culligan and other water filters
- Other water filter products in our Water Filter Guide
Is bottled water in Morocco safe to drink?
What makes you think bottled water is safe to drink if you don’t trust the safety of tap water? Generally bottled water is less regulated and contains more contaminants in the shape of microplastics, hormones and heavy metals than tap water. Orb Media found microplastics in all international bottled water brands. You may consume as much as a credit card of plastic every 2 weeks.
Not only is there no scientific evidence to bottled water being healthier or cleaner but
- You pay 100x for bottle water vs tap water or filtered tap water which adds up to almost 300 euro per year for the average Spanish household for example (we don’t have data for Morocco)
- You have to go and purchase, carry home, store and dispose all the bottles
- The bottles are really bad for the environment even if they are recycled (80% of the CO2 has already been produced)
Always avoid bottled water if you can.
What about tourists to Morocco?
Each country has a different bacteria culture and Moroccans that visit Europe could potentially get a bad tummy if they are sensitive. However, most people will not get sick by drinking the water in the major cities in Morocco. You are a lot more likely to get ill from food or the touch of other human beings. So try to stick to tap water or filtered tap water if you can and avoid bottled water.
Many hotels offer water filters for the sake of the environment.
- Tap water in the major cities in Morocco and is generally considered safe to drink according to international standards (WHO)
- Morocco’s water authorises don’t have the best track record in reporting issues so having a home water filter is a good idea as it will keep you and your family safe long term
- Bottled water in Morocco is not healthier or safer than tap water
- As a tourist you can drink the tap water in the major cities and hotels as long as you don’t have a very sensitive stomach
Visit https://www.clever-hat.com to find out where to buy TAPP products in Morocco.
Listen to this text