BEIRUT: Energy Minister Gebran Bassil launched the first stage of a major dam project along the Nahr Ibrahim river Friday.
Bassil explained at a news conference that the Janna dam would be the second largest after the Qaraoun dam and will reach 165 meters in height.
“This project is not only important for saving more quantities of water but also for producing electrical power,” he said.
Basil has vowed to construct 10 dams this year, adding that Lebanon could harness 210 million cubic meters of water from Nahr Ibrahim. This quantity could increase this year to 250 million.
He said the dam would produce 40 to 90 megawatts of electricity annually, a figure that could rise to 140 megawatts if several power stations there are renovated.
The Janna project along with dams at the Bisri and Awali Rivers will resolve the water shortage problem in the Mount Lebanon and Beirut governorates for the next 50 years, he said, as it will provide Jbeil with 18 million cubic meters of water and Beirut with 20 million.
Bassil said that the cornerstone for the project would be laid in April, and expressed hope that work in the second stage of construction will begin in September.
“We can say that by the middle of the year 2017 the dam will be finalized.”