Water shortages in Lebanon addressed through feasibility study

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, October 11, 2010 – A contract to conduct a feasibility study for the $350 million first phase of the Awali-Beirut water supply project in Lebanon has been awarded to environmental consultancy MWH.

The project involves transferring water from the Awali River in South Lebanon to the capital city of Beirut, which is experiencing a severe water shortage and lacks water transmission systems.

The Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and World Bank has engaged MWH to update a 1994 feasibility study and prepare project cost estimates based on comparisons and viable options of routing the water.

This could either be through a gravity tunnel from the Awali River to the Beirut or by gravity pipeline in trench to the coast and along the coastline. The project is divided into three contract phases and is scheduled to be completed in three years.

The current potable water demand in Beirut is estimated at 780 million litres per day (MLD) with deficits of 368 MLD during the driest month in October, thus creating an intermittent water supply for city residents and businesses. The first phase of the project is expected to treat and transmit 260 MLD.

The project will take advantage of gravity flow between the water extraction and delivery points, which are 35 kilometres apart with varying topography in between, including hills and steep valleys. MWH said that essential components of the three phases include abstracting water from an existing tunnel south of Beirut and delivering to a treatment plant at Ouardaniye; and transmission of treated water from Ouardaniye to the coastal town of Khalde via a 24 km tunnel and then to proposed new reservoirs in South Beirut.

Paul Boulos, president of MWH Middle East, said: “The Awali-Beirut project is vital for Lebanon to help this country alleviate its ongoing water shortages and sustain economic growth and prosperity."

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