Lebanon News

Machnouk urges NGOs to help with water scarcity awareness

File - A man fills a water tank in Sheyah, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk Thursday urged environmental groups to educate people about reducing water consumption, the NNA reported.

In a statement, the minister said resorting to such organizations would benefit the Lebanese, as they can offer their expertise about the most effective means to preserve Lebanon’s environment.

Water, an essential resource for life and sustainability, was being mismanaged and abused, the minister said, adding that deforestation and pollution were to blame. As a result, securing fresh water for consumption purposes has become a priority for the ministry.

“Water is one of Lebanon’s most important resources,” Machnouk said. “Yet, Lebanon is facing challenges in meeting local needs for fresh water, in terms of both quality and quantity.”

Providing an example, the minister said between May and December, the Beirut area usually needs about 250,000 cubic meters of water a day for a population of 1.9 million. The government can only provide 130,000 cubic meters of water a day.

Lebanon, threatened by drought, has seen unusually low levels of rainfall this year. The insignificant showers coupled with heat waves were exacerbated by a series of forest fires. At just 40 percent of the yearly precipitation average by the first week of April, the shortage has spurred calls for a national water strategy and a renewed push for conserving water.

“Today, water security is a global issue because of the sharp rise in the limited resource use by the world’s growing population,” Machnouk said.

As part of their efforts to enlighten the public, the ministry released a guide to help people conserve water at home. It also called on environmental groups to promote the ministry’s recommendations.

In the guide, the ministry said Lebanese could save large quantities of water by simply changing some habits, such as fixing water leaks, using less toilet water and taking quick showers instead of baths.

Other tips included washing fruits and vegetables in a pot instead of under flowing water and refraining from overwatering gardens.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 23, 2014, on page 4.




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