BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk announced Thursday that his ministry had successfully implemented a joint venture with the U.N. Development Program to store rainwater for agricultural use, reducing dependence on groundwater by at least 40 percent.
“The ministry in cooperation with UNDP carried out an exemplary project for storing rainwater from greenhouses widely used by the agriculture sector, as part of efforts to confront water shortages and make use of rainwater in dry seasons,” Machnouk said.
He said the model project was financed by the National Fund for Development and carried out in the areas of Shoueifat, Damour and Kfar Mashoun near Jbeil.
“The chosen locations have a large number of greenhouses and depend heavily on groundwater for irrigation, and the storage of precipitation there is expected to alleviate the high pressure on wells,” Machnouk said.
“The total storage capacity under the project stands at 185,000 liters, an amount that is expected to meet between 40 and 45 percent of water needs annually."
He explained that the scheme would help allow wells to refill naturally and more quickly with groundwater that would be used in dry seasons.
Machnouk said a report on core guidelines for the construction of other water storage stations was underway, based on the models implemented in the three locations.
Lebanon is struggling to deal with one of its worst water shortage in decades, largely caused by an exceptionally dry winter, exacerbated by an influx of over 1.1 million Syrian refugees.