OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management
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Case Study: Litani, Tyr, LEBANON

The study area is part of coastal southern Lebanon along the eastern Mediterranean, that was until recently occupied by Israel. It is bordering the ancient city of Tyr (Sour), covering the coastal part of the Litani river watershed between N 33:10 to N 33:20 and E 35:15 to E 35:28 making round 600 km2. It stretches from seashore to about 600 m elevation starting with gentle plains through slopes and inner plateau into steeper slopes inland. The average annual precipitation is about 700 mm, mostly torrential, with temperature range between 12 to 30 degrees Celsius. There is a major river (Litani) with other minor water courses, over a 100 springs and an increasing number of water wells indicating further reliance on groundwater.

The major city is Sour with about 140,000 inhabitants and density of 12,000 per km2. The rest of the area has around 120 towns and villages with total population of around 250,000 people at a growth rate roughly 4%. They are occupied mostly with agriculture, light industries and handicraft, now tourism is gaining a new stand with construction expansion. The major land-use is agricultural, with main products being citrus, olives, vegetables, tobacco and fruits. The chaotic urban expansion is growing at the expense of prime land. Agriculture is the main user taking up around 70%, mostly from surface water of rivers and springs, and partly from water wells. The average is about 6,000 cubic m per hectare while the general per capita water use is around 120-150 l/d, with drinking water making 20-25% and the rest goes to industry plus other uses. The major problem is due to water mismanagement, inefficient networks, weak quality control, small land property (waste in irrigation practice), plus lack of control of groundwater exploitation. The long dry season whose frequency is increasing, and the increased population accompanied with development expansion, is stressing the water sector tremendously.

The major players are the Ministry of water with its South Lebanon Water Authority, the local municipalities, Ministry of agriculture plus farmers' syndicate, other players are major urban centres, NGOs especially important for public awareness and participatory approaches. End users and beneficiaries are always looking for improvement of the water sector which will make them then more involved.

PowerPoint presentation   from the project kick-off meeting.

CIA factbook Mapquest Water resources (WRI, pdf) FAO AQUASTAT
Satellite image Water resources Irrigation planning Ramsar sites
Water quality (WB, pdf) Pollution Pollution abatement (pdf)

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