Eng. Jamal Krayem
and General Manager
It should be known, by now, that the response to the various human needs for water overwhelms its resources, causing changes in the quality and quantity of water, pushing the management of the use of this vital resource to a complex and difficult to control situation.
Facts have shown that water resources are limited while the demand in various economic sectors is growing rapidly, since it is related to population growth, economic and social development as well as urban and cultural progress.
The national economy is not able alone to meet the needs generated by that increase in demand for water, which contributes to a low efficiency in the management of these resources.
Several studies on the evolution of water balance sheets that relate resources versus water demand in Lebanon, suggest that an imminent shortage will affect its uses, if practical and political urgent measures, combining the efforts of all stakeholders, are not taken to improve the management of this sector and avoid the anticipated shortage.
This management must be based on the concept of water basin as a unit of planning and integrated management, respecting the quantity and the status of water resources, preserving the self-purification of polluted water, protecting public ownership of water, in order to ensure the sustainability and security of ecosystems through an adequate development plan and investment.
The environmental crisis and growing poverty in both rural and urban areas, underline the urgent need to adopt a different approach that would include better controlling water use and creating a typical change in the management of water resources based on the concept of integrated management. This approach will help to identify priorities and water policies that must be taken into account, namely:
Addressing water related issues as an economic and social commodity:
The supply of water services and the construction of necessary infrastructure is an economic act, whereas having an appropriate water supply share is a human right that should be respected. Even if water supply services are not free, users’ payment capacities should be taken into consideration and they should be included in the process of tariff fixing.
Water is a public commodity and a human right.
Do not limit the water policy to the related supply sectors:
Government, public institutions, local authorities and various categories of consumers are the main stakeholder in water management. However, and for efficiency reasons, it is possible to delegate the supply to the private sector. The capacity of the public sector to observe the quality, organization and supervision of private operators must be strengthened, to ensure that the water needs of all citizens are met.
Achieving sustainable development of water resources through integrated water policies and adequate legislative frameworks.
It is crucial to manage water as an indivisible whole, since projects in any water sector may affect water sustainability, quantity and quality in other sectors, hence the importance of coordination and cooperation between local ministries, institutions, authorities and entities.
Recognizing the central role of water users in water supply, management and preservation:
It is important to conduct media campaigns targeting all users’ categories in order to reduce water losses, especially those caused by industries and institutions, and to carry out programs that increase the users’ knowledge and build their capacities, as these programs play a decisive role in improving users’ participation and achieving efficient and successful water management.
Principles and concepts mentioned above represent a code that North Lebanon Water Establishment adopted as a guide in the process of determining its plans, missions and the implementation of its policies and projects. This code will allow the Establishment to play a pioneering role in the society and to ensure a sound and orderly development of the water sector to the best.