Morocco restricts hammam operations to fight drought


In an effort to conserve water and combat the severe drought sweeping over Morocco, cities across the country have mandated a three-day-per-week closure of hammams, the traditional public baths, as reported by AP on March 8th.

With a six-year drought period peaking in recent months,  little rain and increasingly hot temperatures have caused the country’s water reserves to shrink, creating fear in the agricultural sector and pushing municipalities to make urgent, difficult choices.

READ: Morocco: “violent drought” leads to radical saviour plan

The new policy, introduced by cities across Morocco, including Tangier and Casablanca, requires hammams to close their doors three days a week to conserve water. While hammams account for only 2% of Morocco’s total water consumption, the policy is expected to impact more than 200,000 people working directly or indirectly in the hammam sector, according to Morocco’s national statistics agency.

The public, as well as politicians, have openly criticized the policy for not being applied to sectors that consume significantly more water, such as luxury spas and hotel pools, and being instead enforced on small businesses catering to middle and low-income individuals.

The climate change-induced drought has been felt across North Africa, with countries like Tunisia and parts of Spain opting to cut off water supply for specific periods of time or restricting water usage for non-essential purposes, offering a contrasting approach to the one employed in Morocco.

READ: Tunisia: Cost of drinking water up 16% amid drought

The policy, and its reception, underline broader societal issues in the country, like income inequality and the vulnerability of lower-income workers. The partial closure of hammams also highlights a broader debate regarding resource allocation, the prioritization of tourism, and social equity.

Despite this, many citizens have welcomed the water conservation measures, seeing them as a necessity, and voicing their willingness to adapt to ensure that Morocco withstands the test of drought.

Associated Press


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="206"]