Lebanon is among the countries that benefit from international financial grants in the environment and water sectors, but mismanagement remains the main reason for the deterioration of its resources.
A new study confirmed that Lebanon, the Arab country that was considered one of the countries rich in water resources, is no longer so, as its resources have been affected by climatic changes during the past years after the decline in rainfall in exchange for high demand due to the increase in the population and the mismanagement of these resources, which further complicated the situation.
This study, which was published on January 1, was part of a series of studies on climate change in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Region by Springer Scientific Publishing House. It was authored by experts Jalal Al-Halawani and Bushra. Halawani from Lebanon.
Fluctuation in precipitation and increase in evaporation
The authors of the study found that Lebanon, like other countries in the Mediterranean basin, has known for years a significant decline in rainfall at varying rates, ranging between 6% and 12%, with fluctuations recorded in the periods of its precipitation, as the Lebanese no longer receive it on its known dates.
The two researchers also recorded an increase in the average annual temperature during the nearly 90-year study period by between 1 and 3 degrees, which was the reason for the rapid evaporation of water bodies.
The researchers reached these results by studying and analyzing climatic data and statistics about water for a long period from 1930 to 2019 collected from various meteorological stations in Lebanon, such as the Rafic Hariri International Airport Station in Beirut, and the Tripoli Station.
The two researchers found that Lebanon recorded the highest average temperature in the summer of 2015 in Beirut, when it reached 38 degrees Celsius at that time, a figure that, in the language of climate experts, has a negative connotation on water resources.
Historically, the average temperature in Lebanon during the summer from July to September was about 26 degrees, and in 2012 it reached 28.5 degrees, knowing that its highest daily measure did not exceed 33 degrees in the afternoon.
Poor management of water resources
Dr. Jalal Al-Halawani, director of the Environmental and Water Sciences Laboratory at the Lebanese University and a participant in the study, said in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net via e-mail, “Unfortunately, we say that Lebanon is a country rich in water resources compared to neighboring countries, but it mainly suffers from a fundamental problem related to the mismanagement of these resources, as well as The presence of pollution in its surface and groundwater.
Our interviewer explained that the worst thing is that the modern technical aspects of this sector are not taken into consideration. He said, “There are losses or leaks in potable water networks that exceed 50% in many areas, and the necessary measures have not been taken to stop this waste.”
In addition, the agricultural sector consumes more than 60% of renewable groundwater annually, and there is a waste of used water, as it is not utilized after treatment because most of it is discharged into rivers, according to Jalal Al-Halawani.
Our interviewer concluded that “scientific studies have proven that water resources in Lebanon have been negatively affected by climate changes, and the government is called upon today to take the necessary measures quickly to preserve water resources and ensure their sustainability according to modern scientific methods, otherwise it will catch up with the countries that entered the water deficit.”
For her part, an expert in water resources, Mubaraka Al-Ghariani from Libya, commented in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net via the social networking site Facebook that “the impact of climate changes on water resources varies from one country to another. For dry seasons, and in both cases, the need to conduct scientific studies to contain the situation increases.”
With regard to Lebanon, our interviewee explained that “Lebanon’s problem in managing its water resources does not lie in lack of funding, but in mismanagement of these resources in modern and rational ways, because Lebanon is one of the countries that benefit from international financial grants in the environment and water sectors, but mismanagement remains the same. The main reason for the deterioration of its resources.