NAWAMED: Prof. Yaser Abunnasr presents Lebanon’s Pilot Areas


In this article, Prof. Yaser Abunnasr, coordinator of the NAWAMED project at the American University of Beirut (AUB), discusses the 3 pilot installation areas for domestic water treatment and reuse, with the main goal of treating about 3300 m3/year of greywater for reuse.

We have chosen 3 different sites with different climatic areas, rainfall and humidity to have a wide range of conditions in our study for testing the Nawamed proposed solutions.

We have chosen 3 different sites with different climatic areas, rainfall and humidity to have a wide range of conditions in our study for testing the NAWAMED proposed solutions.

The first target area will be on AUB campus in Beirut, which is on the coastal level. Preliminary selection of the building will be women’s dorms, where constant supply and use of water is ensured. This makes the planned Green Wall (GW) treat greywater works more efficiently. One of these buildings will undergo some renovation to its bathrooms in regards to plumbing and piping, so it will be easier to separate black and grey water, thus install the Green Wall.

We’ll have some plumbing work to collect greywater from the existing bathrooms and facilities, and to allow the reuse of the treated water for toilet flushing and irrigation. The size of the Green Wall treatment system in Beirut will be approximately 200 m2. The final selection of the building will be based on the discussions with the Facilities Planning & Design Unit and Planning committee at the University, which is underway.

AREC (Advancing Research Enabling Communities Center) is AUB’s multi-functional and inter-disciplinary center devoted to teaching, research, training and outreach activities. The location of AREC in the heart of the Beqaa valley, 80 kilometers from Beirut, at an elevation of 900 m from sea level, offers a unique model for experimenting and applying agricultural research.

It includes a research farm, an agricultural library, a clinic, several staff resident houses, a student cafeteria and dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, a weather station, a seed bank, cold storages, workshop, and recreation and sport facilities, etc.

Two options are under consideration for the installation of the Constructed Wetland of around 100 m2. First, near the dorms, which are not continuously occupied, and the second, near the creamery of the farm. Further investigation and discussions with IRIDRA, is underway to finalize the location.

Finally, the third target is the refugee camp in Beqaa region, where refugee’s toilets have grey and black water mixed, which is discharged to the main Litani River, creating an environmental pressure from this refugee crisis.

Here, we will have a Constructed Wetland of portable system to treat 12 m2 of wastewater. First preliminary tests will be done in AREC, and then implemented in the Refugee camps. Once we get successful results, we hope to upscale the clear negative impact on the river and environment in general.

In the following months, once all the designs/decisions of the pilot areas are finalized, AUB with the support of Iridra, technical partner of NAWAMED, will start implementing the construction phase and monitor the performance.