Ferid Belhaj, left, and Nadim Farajalla speak during the conference at AUB in Beirut, March 27, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Disagreements over the controversial Bisri Dam took center stage Wednesday at a dialogue on water governance policy, where Ferid Belhaj, the World Bank's regional vice president, insisted the project was a feasible solution to Lebanon's water shortage problem.The dam, a World Bank-funded project that would create a 125 million cubic meter reservoir in the Bisri Valley -- one of south Lebanon's most culturally and ecologically rich areas -- has been the subject of much controversy. The agency has said the project would benefit over 1.6 million people by installing a 26-kilometer underground tunnel that would move treated water to greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon.According to the World Bank's website, water is wasted in Lebanon as a result of poor resource management, limited water resources and infrastructure deficits.Belhaj also said the World Bank had conducted several studies on the issue.Earlier this month, opponents of the dam submitted a petition to the World Bank with 22,500 signatures.
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