Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lebanon faces severe water crisis by 2015

UPI: Lebanon, once considered to have an abundance of water, is threatened with acute shortages as the Arab world lurches toward severe water scarcity as early as 2015. For Lebanon, which has long neglected to take measures to conserve and manage its water resources, the crisis couldn't come at a worse time: The government is gripped by political crisis that many fear could lead to renewed civil war; the decision-making process has been paralyzed; and a 10-year water plan adopted in 2002 has ground to a halt.

The Cabinet, burdened with a $54 billion public debt, decided recently to delay all discussion on a proposal by Water and Energy Minister Jibran Bassil to build 11 dams on Lebanon's several rivers. Fadi Comair, general director of hydraulic and electrical resources, says that enlisting the private sector is the only way to solve the worsening water problem. "We cannot implement infrastructure projects if the private sector does not intervene," he told The Daily Star, Lebanon's English language newspaper. "Without the private sector we can do nothing."

…The World Bank recently urged major investment in Lebanon's ramshackle water infrastructure while noting that the tiny country's water resources are equivalent to 49,830 cubic feet per capita, one of the highest in the Middle East and North Africa….

A spring known as "Ain al Zarka" in the village of Batroumine in Lebanon, shot by ALBA-BALAMAND

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