Water is scarce for cafes in Barouk, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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In a Chouf village that boasts numerous springs and a river that feeds several regions with drinking water, residents are increasingly relying on private water companies, another sign of the serious drought that Lebanon is facing.At least 50 water trucks are filling up every day, mainly to cater for private households.Lebanon is struggling to deal with its worst water shortage crisis in decades following an abnormally dry winter, a situation aggravated by the presence of more than 1 million Syrian refugees and the chronic mismanagement of natural resources, and everything from agriculture to social harmony is suffering. Barouk supplies some parts of Beirut and more than 100 villages in the Chouf, Aley, and Iqlim al-Kharroub regions with drinking water, and at least 10 villages rely on its water for irrigation.Water shortages are also triggering fights and raising tensions, with some 2,000 Syrian refugees in Barouk increasing water consumption by 20-25 percent, Mahmoud said.A drought cycle usually lasts between six to seven years, Boustani said, warning there would be much more difficult years ahead given Lebanon is only in the second year.In Barouk, however, at least one person is not stressed out by water shortages.
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