People sit by the Bissri river, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Residents have cautiously welcomed the signing of a loan agreement paving the way for the construction of a water dam in the Jezzine town of Bisri, as the project, first proposed a decade ago, makes headway.The Wadi Bisri region in south Lebanon, where the dam will be built, is flanked by thousands of hectares of agricultural lands, stretching from the Bisri River to the towns of Bteddine al-Laqsh, Taeid and Mazraat al-Mathaneh. Most of Bisri's inhabitants count on agriculture to make a living, and the region is known for the cultivation of citrus, cereals and olives. Residents expressed their hopes that the project would bring about economic development and tourism, and turn Bisri's vast meadows into an attraction for travelers, much like the Qaraoun lake in West Bekaa is today, as well as provide irrigation sources for the area's agricultural tracts, and of course energy production through the construction of a hydroelectric dam. In 2010, the project was revived, and a study was conducted, which concluded that the dam should be set up along the Bisri River at 395 meters, 17 kilometers away from the Awali River estuary.
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