BEIRUT: The ministerial committee tasked with following up on Lebanon’s looming water crisis will draft an action within a week that will include short- and long-term solutions to address the shortage, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said Friday.
"After discussing the recommendations and solutions, the ministers agreed to put in place a detailed action plan within a week and propose it the committee and then to Cabinet so that the government can make the appropriate decisions,” Moqbel told reporters after the end of the committee meeting that he chaired.
Moqbel said the country was in need of technical solutions to face the water crisis.
Chaired by MP Mohammad Qabbani, several concerned parliamentary committees met earlier this week to discuss the water crisis and announced a series of proposals to address the issue.
The parliamentary plan calls for restrictions on water use, including a moratorium on irrigation for seasonal crops, in exchange for compensation to farmers, and a ban on washing cars and sidewalks and watering lawns, under threat of fine.
The plan also called for patching up existing infrastructure in order to prevent leaks and lifting the VAT on the importation of water. The proposal called for exploring the possibility of importing water from Turkey by sea using huge fabric balloons called Spragg Bags.
During the ministerial committee meeting that was attended by the environment, public works and industry ministers, Qabbani gave a detailed presentation about the committee’s recommendations
Moqbel said the ministers also agreed that future solutions should focus on building dams and constructing lakes as well as organizing awareness campaigns to limit consumption.
“Water shortage is now an inevitable crisis that requires fast and technical solutions to prevent the dangerous repercussions on citizens,” the defense minister said.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk sounded the alarm over Lebanon’s water shortages.
“The shortage of water is around 400 million cubic meters,” he told a local magazine.
“In the summer season, we are only able to adopt water rationing policies for the domestic and industry use.”
“We will release a study explaining the environmental effect of the water shortage.”