Mount Lebanon Integrated Water Resource Management
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Collaborative actions between private stakeholders and public use of water
Antea Group carried out a detailed quantitative study of the water resources in the Shouf nature reserve (Réserve de Biosphère du Shouf) located at the heart of Mount Lebanon. A genuine “water reservoir” for South Lebanon, the zone under study also houses the biggest zone of Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), the country’s national emblem, as well as one of the Middle East’s main hydro-geological catchment areas. The sector includes two mineral water bottling plants that benefit from a protected natural environment.
The objective of the study was to characterize and then assess the vulnerability of the water resources and involve the stakeholders in the sustainable management of those resources.
The Antea Group teams were mobilized to:
- characterize the water resource using a detailed study of the hydrosystems including field investigations and metrological water monitoring;
- collect environmental and social data making it possible to identify the users of the water and their needs;
- assess the sustainability of the resources compared to the different uses of the water and taking into account climate change;
- propose an integrated water resource management program and an action program.
The study showed that, even if the resource is available, it remains fragile in the long term. In parallel, local water bodiies (drinking water and sanitation) suffer from weak management due to public policy constraints. No public institutions have demonstrated any strong initiatives in the water sector. The result is a lack of infrastructure maintenance and deteriorating service. As for farming, it has increasing needs.
The study resulted in a proposal to create a watershed committee to make it possible to initiate a Mount Lebanon local water governance body. The purpose of the committee would be to coordinate the stakeholders, improve knowledge of how the hydro-system works, to spread and share that knowledge to and with local communities, and to protect the resource by taking action (artificial aquifer re-filling, reduction of network losses, creation of small irrigation reservoirs).
The study will have made it possible to create the first watershed committee in Lebanon, allowing the active cooperation of all water sector stakeholders in Lebanon, whether public or private.
- 50,000 hectares Area of Shouf Biosphere Reserve
- 102,000 inhabitants in the studied zone
- 200,000 inhabitants supplied by public water network
- 80% of water requirements met by spring flows
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