Workers fill water containers in the south Beirut suburb of Tahwitat al-Ghadir, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The nearly rainless months of January and February have hit Lebanese farmers hard, and if the drought persists, experts warn it could further dry up groundwater wells and reservoirs increasing the water deficit for both household and agricultural use.Despite an annual rainfall average of 8 billion cubic meters, Lebanon suffers, according to the latest official statistics dating back to 2011, from an estimated shortage of 73 million cubic meters of water.The Blue Gold project's short- to medium-term top three priorities, according to Sayegh, are to work toward implementing appropriate irrigation schemes, monitoring water quality and seeking to extract water from undersea freshwater springs.According to the Blue Gold project, the adoption of appropriate irrigation techniques could save Lebanon up to 270 million cubic meters of water annually.Out of 2.7 billion cubic meters of available water through eight aquifers and 17 perennial rivers fed by more than 2,000 springs, Lebanon makes use of only 1.4 billion cubic meters.
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