Background on the Water sector

The institutional framework of the water sector was established with the Law 221/2000 and its amendments (Law 241 and 377 of the same year). The law dealt mainly with the following issues: (a) the mandate of the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW); (b) the creation of the four new Water Establishments (WEs) with their mandates and their internal organization; and (c) the creation of a committee responsible for the evaluation of the WEs performance.

By law, all water management responsibilities are entrusted to Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW). The responsibilities of the Ministry cover definition of sector policies and planning including water allocations for different sectors, planning and developing water projects; contracting and supervising construction of projects, operating infrastructure facilities , water conservation and enforcing water related laws and regulations. The ministry performs its responsibilities through two general directorates:

  • The General Directorate of Hydraulic and Electric Resources
  • The General Directorate of Exploitation

The Ministry of Energy and Water supervises the four water establishments and the Litani River Authority. The four water establishments cover the following cazas:

  • North Lebanon water establishment: Tripoli, Akkar, Koura, Zgharta, Bechare, Batroun, and Dannieyeh.
  • Beirut and Mount Lebanon water establishment: Beirut, Metn, Baabda, Chouf, Aley, Kesrouane and Jubeil.
  • South Lebanon water establishment: Saida, Sour, Marjayoun, BentJbail, Hasbaya, Jezzine, and Nabatiyeh.
  • Beqaa water establishment: Zahle, Baalbeck, Hermel, Rachaya and Hasbaya.

There are also other organizations dealing to a lesser extent with the water sector such as the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) , the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and the municipalities.

The water establishments are supervised by the MoEW and are expected to take over the management of the irrigation, potable water and sewerage schemes within their areas. In addition, The Litani River Authority (LRA) which was established in 1954 is responsible for operating and exploiting all Litani River Basin related projects.

The population served by water supply systems ranges around 75% but the service continuity and water quality are low: during the summer some areas of the country receive only three hours of daily water supply and some studies estimate that 70% of the water reserves are affected by bacterial contamination.

Water losses are estimated over 40%. The storage capacity is overall insufficient.

  • In some areas of the country people rely on off-network private water provision and these service conditions increase the vulnerability of the population to water carried diseases.
  • Wastewater collection is only in major urban areas, and there are only 11 wastewater treatment plants.
  • The Water Establishments have insufficient technical, financial and commercial management skills.
  • The absence of metering and inadequate price policies also increases difficulties that hamper a good performance of the Water Establishments.