Getting Lebanon’s water flowing

The Syrian conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people to Lebanon, putting pressure on water services and resources. Humanitarian agencies and the national government have drawn on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators to gather new data on access to water and water quality, to be able to respond more effectively to the water crisis.

UN-Habitat estimates that demand on water services has increased by 30 per cent since the crisis began. 3.7 million people – both Lebanese and Syrian are in need of water. The water crisis affecting Lebanon predates the arrival of the Syrian refugees. Decades of civil unrest and under-investment, followed by episodes of conflict driven by regional and sectarian tensions, have splintered towns and cities, damaging the country’s existing water infrastructure that delivers water to towns, cities and households.

Although Lebanon is rich in water compared to Jordan, Israel and Syria, the amount of renewable water in the region has dropped from 1,000 cubic metres a year per person – considered the threshold of water poverty – to around 700m3 per person since the refugees arrived.

Humanitarian agencies, national government and water utilities have been working to respond to the infrastructural and water resource challenges that underpin the crisis. UNICEF has been working with the MoEW to collect and support data collection on access to water linked to the new SDG indicator on quality.

[International Institute for Environment and Development]

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