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RBM pilot projects

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Two pilot projects in the framework of the Joint Process between the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Mediterranean component of the EU water Initiative (MED-EUWI) are financed from the MEDA Water programme budget. These pilot projects are the Ec’Eau Sebou project in the Sebou river basin in Morocco and the Litani River project in the Litani river basin in Lebanon.

Ec’Eau Sebou Project:
Main Objectives:
Ec’Eau Sebou Project is a 15-month project, launched in February 2007, under the umbrella of the Mediterranean EUWI WFD Joint Process and funded by MEDA Water Programme. It aims to test the methods and tools of the economic analysis proposed by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) in a pilot Mediterranean non European Basin: the Sebou Basin. In agreement with the WFD, the project focuses on the economic analysis to “contribute” to the selection of projects or program of measures which can be the basis of any rational and sustainable use of water resources but also of limited financial resources.

Main Topics
The main topics of this project incorporate:

  • Analysis of the economic importance of the main water uses in relation to the analysis of pressures and impacts on water resources. This analysis helps to define the current importance of water from an economic point of view and to highlight the relationship between economic development and environmental protection in the Sebou basin;

  • Development of trend scenarios for the Sebou by identifying in particular : (i) the external and internal variables that influence the economic sectors which excerpt a pressure on water resources, and (ii) the expected development of future activities and their impact on quantitative, qualitative and on ecological status of the aquatic resource in the Sebou Basin.

  • Analysis of the water pricing policies - a detailed attention being brought to two particular dimensions of pricing policies in agreement with Article 9 of the WFD, i.e. (i) the cost recovery for water services (services will need to be defined in the context of the Sebou basin) and (ii) the incentive character of current pricing policy applied to different sectors and uses.

  • Cost effectiveness analysis as a support for the selection of measures and projects necessary to achieve environmental objectives pre-defined at a lower cost. This analysis is seen as particularly relevant in the context of limited financial resources and fragile economic sectors.

  • Cost-benefit analysis, considering in particular the environmental benefit associated to the improvement of the quality of the aquatic environment. This will help evaluating environmental objectives based on purely ecological and technical criteria from an economic point of view

Preliminary results of the analyses

Economical importance of water uses: the socioeconomic indicators such as turnover, added value and employment were calculated for various key sectors. With regard to the economic importance of water uses, socio-economic data were crossed to the technical data of the mass balance, to understand the relative importance of different uses of water from a technical point of view and the socio-economic integration between economic development and water policies in the Sebou basin. Thus, the preliminary results showed that the industry presents the most important turnover when agriculture is important for employment. Other sectors such as tourism, fishing, crafts were not detailed due to lack of availability of data.

Trend Scenarios: the various factors and indicators affecting water demand and pollution have been identified. The future developments of these factors were evaluated until 2015, in particular to obtain initial estimates on the quantitative aspects for the Gharb and Saïss aquifers, and on the qualitative aspects for the surface water of the Sebou River. The preliminary results show that the water balance will increase between 2004 and 2015 from -31 Mm3 to 58 Mm3 for the Gharb aquifer and from -128 mM3 to 6 Mm3 for the Saïss aquifer. This increase is attributed in both cases in particular to the irrigation from surface waters instead of groundwater and to the improvement of the overall performance of the distribution network of drinking water for the urban population.

On the other hand, it was concluded that an overall improvement of water quality of the Sebou river will be observed between 2004 and 2015. This improvement will result in the equipment of many cities with sewage treatment plants. Meanwhile, this gain in quality seems not to be enough to induce a real change of the overall class of the water quality.

Water pricing and cost recovery: the analysis focused on screening water services available, the level of financial contribution of users, public funding provided and the cost of water in the Sebou basin.

Cost effectiveness: On the basis of data gathered on water abstraction, pollution and environmental conditions, mass balance has been prepared for the two aquifers and for the various sub-basins of Sebou. These assessments were connected to the pressures and impacts on the environment. An evaluation of the effectiveness of potential measures was proposed and a cost was attributed to each measurement. A data base structuring the measures, their dimension and their costs was developed. The final conclusions are still under analysis.

Cost benefit: Uses affected by the proposed measures were identified. The impact of the proposed measures on these uses were described, evaluated qualitatively and monetized to calculate the cost and benefits of action programmes to achieve the environmental objectives for the surface water in the Sebou basin. This analysis is still under finalisation and the final results are under analysis.
The applicability of the economic analysis to Sebou river basin and conclusions on this test will be discussed in the month of April and results disseminated in a national workshop schedules for April 10th 2008.

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