CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

Introduction


Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures because of climate change. Although 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved water sanitation since 1990, dwindling supplies of safe drinking water is a major problem impacting every continent.

In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress – 10 of which are close to depleting their supply of renewable freshwater and must now rely on alternative sources. Increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages.

This is particularly important for the Arab region, the world’s most water insecure region and hosting 14 of the world’s 20 most water-stressed countries. The average person has access to only about 12% the renewable water levels of an average global citizen. Meanwhile, more than half of all water originates from outside the region itself, making the Arab region the most dependent on external sources. Water insecurity has also grown due to the escalation of conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Syria, for example, 70 percent of the Syrian population is without regular access to safe drinking water because of water cuts and destruction of basic infrastructure.

Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires that we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More international cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in developing countries.

Major advances have been made and the majority of people in Lebanon have improved access to water supply, however, people in Lebanon experience frequent water shortages and the water is in many places not safe to drink. While Lebanon has a relatively well established water and wastewater network systems, only a small portion of the water/wastewater is treated and managed safely.

Specialized Water and Soil Analysis Laboratory

The Specialized Water and Soil Analysis unit utilizes cutting edge instrumentation to perform full service analytical environmental testing in emerging organic and inorganic contaminants. A variety of techniques to determine the elemental composition of variable materials including petroleum products, environmental samples, biological tissues or artificial polymers are widely used.


Infrastructure of the Laboratory

Atomic Absorption Spectrometers (AAS), Calorimeter Visible Merck Spectroquant, Ultraviolet-Visible spectrophotometer, Aqua Quest Spectrophotometer for Water Analysis, Diet Quest Spectrophotometer for Water Analysis Spectra Analyzer, Shaker Incubator, Bacterial Incubator, Kjeldahl Nitrogen, Dissolved oxygen meter, Flame Photometer, Prime lab 1.0 Multitest Photometer, Near IR Spectra Analyzer, Conductivity meter, pH-meter.


Applications

This organic area is focused on the basic techniques of:

  • Water and soil analysis

  • Modified supra-molecular and nano-materials for water treatment

  • Modified biomass and activated carbon for the removal of dyes and heavy metals from waste water

  • Determination of trace metals, pesticides in tissues, sediments and water

  • Quantitative determination of organic nitrogen in chemical substances

  • Analysis of dairy product, meat and other food products, snacks, grains, animal feed, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

  • All methods follow international quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) standards.

World Water Day 2018 at RCED


On World Water Day 2018, under the theme, “Nature for Water”, Research Center for Environment and Development (RCED), Beirut Arab University, Bekaa jointly with Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC)-Italia organized a celebration event on March 30, 2018. This event was funded by UNHCR being the donor of several development projects that support the water networks and services in Bekaa region. The event targeted a group of students from the faculty of Civil Engineering, Beirut Arab University.


GVC team of both Italian and Lebanese members shared with participants the organization’s vision and information about its projects in several countries including those implemented in Lebanon. In addition, the use of nature-based approaches for water pumping and improving water quality were presented while examples of best practices were high lightened. This was followed by a site visit to the water system projects implemented by GVC in Qoub Elias, Central Bekaa and open round table discussion was held.

ASCE water Treatment Plant visit


ASCE Student Chapter at BAU-Tripoli branch made a field trip to “Tripoli Treatment Plant” on Friday February 22, 2019 in El-Bahsass. The students were accompanied by a group of Civil Engineering faculty. The plant discharges about 70,000 m3/day of fresh water to Tripoli city. The students were able to visualize a backwashing process of the filtration tanks together with the different processes involved in water treatment from coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation and disinfection to have the water clean from any collides and bacteria for safe public use.

Site Visit to Water Front City- Dbayeh


Faculty of Architectural Engineering has arranged a set of site visits to Water Front City Project at Dbayeh for the Fourth level Students of the Academic Year 2014 - 2015.

The site visit aims to make the students in direct contact with the construction processes as well as the contact administration procedures (Material submittals, commissioning, Safety procedures…) in large scale projects.

National workshops on “Groundwater Governance in the Arab World: Taking Stock and Addressing the Challenges”


As the National Facilitator of the USAID funded project “Groundwater Governance in the Arab World: Taking Stock and Addressing the Challenges”, RCED organized two workshops during February 21-22, 2017 in Beirut and Bekaa to present and discuss with stockholders and decision makers the findings and the proposed policy white paper generated by the project for groundwater governance in Lebanon. Workshop I, Beirut, Feb. 21st 2017, targeted officials and decision makers from the Ministry of Energy and Water, Bekaa Water Establishment and the Litani River Authority. Whereas workshop II, Bekaa, Feb. 22nd 2017, was oriented towards local stakeholders including municipality members, Water User Associations and farming communities.


Objectives

  • Addressing challenges facing groundwater resources in Lebanon

  • Contributing to finding solutions and mitigation measures to groundwater crisis and abuse in Lebanon

  • Bringing decision-makers, practitioners and users together to set up aquifer dialogues and discuss groundwater governance

  • Drawing connections between science, knowledge and policy making


During both interactive workshops I and II, the research team of the project led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) presented and discussed the “Case of Central Bekaa, A Policy White Paper”. On the behalf of the BAU President, Prof. Amer Galal Adawi, and BAU family, Prof. Adel El Kordi, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, addressed the participants and research team with a warm welcome and acknowledgment for the efforts and importance of project’s findings for the management of one of the most national pressing challenges of Lebanon. He emphasized that BAU has followed a dedicated path to provide quality educational outcomes that contribute to water management and governance in Lebanon through qualified civil and environmental engineers. Dr. Safaa, Director of RCED, added that this project which is part of the regional project that includes Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE and Oman aims to identify the required actions to achieve good ground governance in Bekaa which is suffering from excessive pumping illegal pumping and that the workshop maybe viewed as a platform for dialogue and knowledge exchange in the field of groundwater governance at the national level. The valuable participation of managers and donors of international water projects in Bekaa including USAID Lebanon Water Project, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Solidarite – Eau, France, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), German Organization for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) allowed and facilitated knowledge sharing and building links for potential future collaboration. Through his intervention Prof. Jamal Al Khatib, Faculty of Engineering, BAU, stressed on the urgency of developing and implementing integrated water management plans to combat the severe challenges water sector is facing due to climate change and pressures of Syrian refugees.

USAID Water Project in Lebanon (LWP) meeting municipality council members in Central Bekaa


RCED hosted in 19 October 2016, a meeting of the USAID funded project “Water Project in Lebanon (LWP)” with the municipalities in Central Bekaa including the Union of the Municipalities, and the municipalities of Bwarej, Majdl Anjar, Anjar, Marj, Kab Elias, and Meksse. LWP is a five-year program funded by USAID with the objective to increase access to clean, reliable and sustainable sources of drinking water for Lebanese citizens (info@lebanonwater.net) .

Objectives

  • Strengthening and improving service delivery and resource management at the water authorities

  • Enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of the public water utilities and responding to water issues arising from the influx of Syrian refugees

  • Promoting better water governance to assure the long-term protection of Lebanon’s water resources

  • Improving private sector participation in water management


During the interactive meeting, LWP managers and consultants Drs. George Akl, Nabil Amasha, and Marwan Rizkalla introduced to participants the objectives and framework of LWP. This was followed by an open discussion on the needs of every municipality through which technical and capital assistance to enhance capacities and upgrade the infrastructure for better services and protection of natural resources were emphasized. The role of civil society and women as important stakeholders in water management and decision making is stressed. At the end of the meeting participants expressed the need to foster synergies and coordination between the Lebanese government, local authorities, private sector and NGOs towards a more efficient implementation of integrated actions.

Water in Lebanon: Turning Current Challenges into Future Opportunities


Conference panels at AUB-IFI, Beirut hosted participants from AUB, BAU, PU and Balamand Universities, and industry experts who encouraged the next generation to focus their studies and careers on the water and environmental sector in order to turn Lebanon’s water challenges into opportunities. The panels also featured various private and public actors who are involved in water management as well as Mr. Michele Pierpaoli – Attache’ for Water and Waste Water Affairs from the European Union Delegation to Lebanon. Interactive discussions with students and participants was held. The live streaming and BAU- ACF live discussion panel at BAU-RCED, Bekaa, conducted a discussion and knowledge-sharing platform led by Dr. Safaa Baydoun & Dr. Kamal El Kalaani with around 150 participants from universities, freshman and school students. Major water challenges in Lebanon, especially on Litani River, Bekaa region and management means of the impact of Syrian crisis and climate change on water resources issues were highlighted. Students were encouraged to purse higher studies on water resources related majors and contribute to local and national activities towards turning challenges into opportunities.

The President of Beirut Arab University Prof. Amr Galal El- Adawi and the President of Al-Mina Municipality Council Abdel Kader Alameddine signed a cooperation agreement covering infrastructure and the surrounding area of BAU Branch in Al Mina.


The President of Al-Mina Municipality Council spoke about the nature of this agreement saying "This is not the first agreement of cooperation between the Municipality and BAU. Our cooperation began since laying the foundation stone for the establishment of BAU Tripoli Branch in Al-Mina City. We believe in BAU’s role to raise the status of the city and our relationship with BAU has developed during the era of former Secretary General late Mr. Issam Houri. Also, we have always been able to meet the university demands concerning the building, investment and licensing.” He added, “We are proud today to sign an agreement of cooperation regarding the establishment of the public park near the university campus which will be a public common for BAU students and Al Mina people.”


BAU President Prof. Amr Galal El -Adawi maintained, "Today we signed an agreement, which is the first of its kind to turn the land adjacent to the university branch into a park of public interest for Al Mina people and BAU students.”

He added, “Our presence here is not limited to this distinctive educational facility in Lebanon and the Middle East. It includes our vision of being partners with the people of Tripoli, Al Mina and the North to create a success story not only at the educational level but also for the development of the city. BAU Branch in Al Mina was established nine years ago, and since then the region has been significantly developed and many job opportunities have been open for the people in the North as most of the BAU academic and administrative staff members and professors are from Tripoli and the North. This was reflected in the university labour needs which we emphasized to be limited to the people of the region so they feel we are here to achieve development goals in addition to educational issues.”


On the other hand, and within the framework of the Signing Ceremony, a gathering was held between the President of BAU Prof. Amr Galal El- Adawi and the Northern figures: Former Prime minister Najib Mikati represented by Mokbel Malak, Minister of State for Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth Ms. Violette Khairallah Safadi represented by Ms. Nadine Ali, M.P. Dr. Ali Darwich, M.P. Jean Obeid represented by Mr. Elie Obeid, Ministers and Former Deputies Dr. Ahmad Fatfat, Mohamad Safadi represented by Mr. Ahmad Safadi, Mr. Omar Miskawi, Election Candidate for Tripoli Ms. Dima Jamali, Mayor of Tripoli Municipality Eng. Ahmad Kamareddine, the President of Al Mina Municipality Council Abdel Kader Alameddine, The Head of the Educational Area Ms. Nahla Hamaty, and the Director General of Water in the North Dr. Khaled Obeid.


BAU President Prof. Amr Galal El- Adawi delivered a speech emphasizing on the role of universities in spreading the social awareness and services in addition to their role in educating people. He mentioned the importance of establishing BAU Tripoli Campus in helping the Northern students to maintain education. In addition, he spoke on the high standards of education provided by Beirut Arab University at the five current faculties at the Campus. Moreover, he mentioned that BAU works on the student’s personality that serves the community and can builds success stories despite the difficult economic situation Lebanon faces.


The gathering was culminated by a lunch included BAU and all distinguished gusts.