Litani River Basin
It is the longest and largest river in Lebanon, with a length of 170 km, and its water capacity is approximately 750 million cubic meters per year. Projects and studies have been established on it to benefit from it in the production of hydroelectric power and securing irrigation and drinking water for the Bekaa, the south and the coast, with the aim of developing the agricultural and electrical sector, and to limit displacement and migration.
The Litani River originates from several springs called Al-Aleeq Springs, located at a distance of ten kilometers to the west of the city of Baalbek, at an altitude of one thousand meters.
Its drainage gradually increases due to the tributaries joining it.
The most important problems and dangers to water in the Litani River
The most important problems and dangers facing the water sector in the Litani Basin in particular and Lebanon in general:
Indiscriminate and unfair exploitation of water resources
The cloud of pollutants on water sources
This indiscriminate exploitation is represented by the presence of thousands of underground wells in the basins of the Authority, which drain the energy of the aquifer through overexploitation. This dangerous phenomenon led to the destruction of many explosive springs and to a dangerous decrease in groundwater levels, followed by a decrease in surface water levels.
In the absence of oversight and the rule of law, hundreds of water pumping stations were established on the riverbeds and water points. These stations contributed to the disappearance of many springs and to the deterioration of many permanent rivers and the curtailment of their discharge.
Pollutants attack water sources
The most important of these pollutants:
- Sewage and waste water released by cities and population centers into rivers.
- Water and waste released by factories related to the manufacture of agricultural and animal products (cheese factories/conserves/sanitary tissues/sugar factories/poultry farms/slaughterhouses...etc).
- Excessive use of pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural drugs that contribute directly to raising the level of nitrogen and heavy metals in the aquifer water.
The most prominent of these solutions
Controlling sources of pollution Treating wastewater by setting up collective wastewater treatment plants at the exits of cities and population centers. Establishing solid waste treatment plants Obligating agricultural production conversion plants, dairy and cheese production plants, and slaughterhouses to equip their facilities with refining stations for liquids and waste resulting from the manufacturing process. Licensing the digging of wells in areas equipped with collective irrigation networks, and obliging participants to participate in the public project.
Means of preserving and protecting water resources
The phenomenon of water pollution in the basins belonging to the Litani Authority takes a more serious and comprehensive dimension in the natural field of these basins and also affects the rest of the regions by virtue of the geographical contiguity between them. The quantities of waste that are spread randomly in several places inside the basins and the resulting destruction, burial and burning operations release additional toxins in the air and in the prevailing climate in the geographical vicinity of the basin.
In addition, encroachment on forests, green spaces, sea beaches and rivers constitutes an infringement of the immutable rules of nature. From here comes the importance of issuing a set of legal and administrative measures to protect the environment, most notably: the issuance of a rural law / rural code / that protects agricultural lands and prevents their use for construction or other purposes.
Preserving the natural balance in the agricultural production process (animal production, vegetable production). Reorganizing the quarries and crushers sector and stopping encroachment on the landscape within the basin. Land reclamation in a scientific manner, taking into account the preservation of winter waterways, non-encroachment on slopes and archaeological sites, and the preservation of natural wealth.
Prohibiting the drilling of underground wells in areas equipped with collective irrigation networks / collectif reseaux / and public irrigation projects, and obligating applications for obtaining licenses to drill new wells in areas not equipped with networks, with the approval of the Authority to grant the license.