Dutch partners ready to start water and agriculture project in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
World Waternet, Acacia Water and Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) signed an agreement to support Lebanon with Dutch knowledge on water and agriculture.
In February 2017 they will jointly start a project in Lebanon to improve the water infrastructure, to increase the water availability and to increase the production of farmers through better and more efficient water use. The Dutch partners will cooperate with the Bekaa Water Establishment, the water company responsible for drinking water and wastewater in the Bekaa Valley. The Dutch partners signed the agreement on 31 January.Signing the agreement for cooperation (from left to right): Bram de Vos (Wageningen Environmental Research), Kenneth Comvalius (World Waternet) and Arjen de Vries (Acacia Water).
Over 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon and the availability of drinking water and sanitation is under great pressure. In addition, water for agriculture has become scarce, yet the demand for food is increasing.
Following a visit by a Dutch disaster risk reduction team (DRR-Team) in August last year, the Dutch government and Bekaa Water Establishment, together with financial donors and non-governmental organisations worked out a plan to improve the situation on water and agriculture specifically in the Bekaa Valley.
Along with the Litani River Authority, the water quality of the Litani River will be improved. The project also includes the construction of greenhouses in collaboration with local partners.
Balancing surpluses and shortages
Director Arjen de Vries at Acacia Water "Lebanon as a whole has a positive water balance. Overexploitation only occurs in certain areas. It lacks good water management to balance the local surpluses and shortages of water. By gaining a better insight in the dynamics of the water, we will be able to formulate measures to improve the optimal use of the available water. "
Better quality of life
Director Bram de Vos at Wageningen Environmental Research: "Especially in this crisis with so many refugees the quality of life is fragile. Together with our partners we want improve the situation by making available more and cleaner water, more green, better health and quality of life, and more and healthy food."
Speaking on behalf of the team of directors of World Waternet, Kenneth Comvalius said: "For more sustainable investments in water infrastructure it is necessary to strengthen the bodies responsible for managing these investments. World Waternet will share its knowledge on water management to contribute to this sustainability.”
Accommodation of Syrian refugees
The project is part of a wider support package by the Dutch government to accommodate Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to support the host community.
Besides activities in the field of water, projects are supported for improving the agricultural sector and promoting employment.
This news item was originally published on the website of Wageningen University and Acacia Water (in Dutch only).
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● Expertise: Water and agriculture
● Country: Lebanon
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Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra)
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