"NAWAMED project will contribute to change the story of water in Lebanon": Prof. Yaser Abunnasr, American University of Beirut


In this article, Prof. Yaser Abunnasr, coordinator of the NAWAMED project at the American University of Beirut, discusses the water situation in Lebanon and the potential contribution of the NAWAMED project. Here are the main highlights of what he said.  

In addition to many other challenges in Lebanon, water shortage is becoming a major concern, especially with the effects of climate change. Besides the low amount of rainfall and the inefficient management, we witness an increase in the demand of water caused by the inflow of refugees.

It is estimated that Lebanon’s water resources will be inadequate to meet meeting the expected needs of the growing population.

For instance, the Lebanese population in the Bekaa valley is around 500,000, and the Syrian refugees there count around 500,000 as well. Lebanese individuals use 180 l/d water, 90% of which is not recycled and returned as wastewater, due to the inefficiency of water resource management (infrastructure, policies and maintenance). Refugees use 50 l/d, because water is delivered in tanks.

Currently, a very limited percentage of the generated wastewater is treated, as water recycling is not a common practice. Although several greywater treatement plants have been built, they are not operational, so untreated wastewater is discharged to the nearest waterbody (rivers, lakes, groundwater and the sea), polluting these bodies with a negative impact on the environment, which is a story by itself!

The NAWAMED project, thanks its nature-based solutions, is very relevant for Lebanon, and will contribute to change this story, concluded Prof. Yaser Abunnasr.

Due to the inefficient water management in Lebanon, the NAWAMED project is very relevant for Lebanon, as it will provide data and information for cheaper and much needed solutions especially with the refugee crisis and current deteriorating financial situation.

NAWAMED’s goal is to change urban water management practices using decentralized, nature-based solutions (innovative, sustainable, low-cost treatment technologies) to replace the use of potable water with the use of good quality, non-conventional water. NAWAMED is an effort to address the fact that untreated domestic wastewater in cities continues to be the main source of pollution to rivers, ground water and ecosystems. 

Stay tuned with the NAWAMED project: http://www.enicbcmed.eu/projects/nawamed