World Bank to provide US$474mn for water project in Lebanon

dam-michealstone-flickrThe World Bank has approved funds worth US$474mn for a water supply development scheme in Lebanon

According to the Daily Star, more than half of Lebanon’s population faces a severe water shortage.

Lebanon’s council for development and reconstruction is likely to construct a 73 metre-high dam with a 125mn cu/m storage capacity in the Chouf village. The water supply augmentation project will be developed over nine years and benefit more than 1.6mn people living across the Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon area, said World Bank officials.

Ferid Belhaj, director of the Middle East department at the World Bank, termed the project as ‘an investment in the future of Lebanon’. In addition to the World Bank’s loan, the Islamic Development Bank will provide US$128mn, which has to be ratified by the Lebanese parliament and government.

Belhaj added that the water project is part of the Lebanese government’s 2012 National Water Sector Strategy aimed at increasing access to water supply and irrigation across the country. The World Bank will supervise the project throughout its implementation phases and disburse funds in installments.

In addition, an international panel of experts on dam safety will also be responsible for reviewing technical and safety aspects of the dam design, while mitigating the environmental and social impact on local communities.

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