Multi-sectoral partnership enhances Shouf’s water resources

Multi-sectoral partnership enhances Shouf’s water resources

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A multi-sectorial partnership was launched to help Lebanon’s Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) to bolster the area’s groundwater reservoirs during the October-May rainy season. This is achieved using various walls and terraces to channel rainwater to dedicated reservoirs to reduce the impact of summer droughts.

Multi-sectoral partnership enhances Shouf’s water resources

A multi-sectoral partnership was launched to help Lebanon’s Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) to bolster the area’s groundwater reservoirs during the October-May rainy season. This is achieved using various walls and terraces to channel rainwater to dedicated reservoirs to reduce the impact of summer droughts. The development, announced during World Water Day, is based on a study by the “Groundwater Assessment of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve-Lebanon” in collaboration with Nestlé Waters. The company, two years prior, found the area’s overall groundwater balance to be positive by around 12 million cubic meters per year. It also detected important seasonal water fluctuations, as well as high impact stemming from climate change and human activities.

A steering committee including representatives from the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, the ministries of Water & Energy, Environment, and Agriculture, municipalities, representatives of local agriculture cooperatives, local water authorities, concerned NGOs, the private sector and others are set to hold their first meeting in April 2019 to decide on additional actions aimed at further improving sustainable water management in the area. “A full action plan recommended by the study’s findings has been underway, aiming to improve the quantity and quality of the water supply in the area,” explained Assaad Saadeh, Water Resources and Environmental Sustainability Manager in the Middle East and Africa at Nestlé Waters. “We are essentially implementing a pilot project with the collaboration of the SBR team and other stakeholders, which can be replicated in other water basins around the country. This could serve as a model to improve local water resources management. We at Nestlé Waters advocate for effective water stewardship and are very happy to bring in our international expertise in water management for the benefit of local communities. Our collaboration with the Shouf Biosphere Reserve is allowing us to create shared value for society, the environment and our brand, by ensuring integrated water resources management of the watershed.”

Nestlé Waters is hosting events with local stakeholders at nearly all its sites around the world to celebrate World Water Day in 2019 by helping to raise awareness and share water knowledge. In Lebanon, the initiative saw meetings in Ain Zhalta and near Tyre designed to raise children’s awareness to the issue. These were attended by more than 18,000 children during annual activities held over the past nine years. Besides engaging with local communities, these gatherings are in line with Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) intended to certify all its sites by 2025. The global standard helps major water users to better understand the impact of their activities and to work together with other stakeholders on the sustainable management of shared water resources

About groundwater assessment

The “Groundwater assessment of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve-Lebanon” study is the fruit of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding between Nestlé Waters and the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. Launched in 2016, its key objective is to assess the water resources of the area extending over Lebanon’s western mountain chain from Mount Kneisseh in the North, to mount Niha in the South – one of the most plentiful freshwater-generating hotspots in Lebanon and the Middle East. The study was implemented by leading water and environmental management consultancy ANTEA Group.

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