Despite Lebanon’s relatively abundant natural water resources, population growth, rapid urban expansion, water and weather related events and an influx of Syrian refugees have collectively caused a significant water deficit in Lebanon. Only 48 percent of the population has access to safely managed water, while 20 percent has access to safely managed sanitation. Unsustainable water use practices, poor management of wastewater, and water treatment problems collectively reduce the availability of drinking water. Much of the country’s infrastructure remains outdated and vastly inadequate to provide reliable service delivery. Poor conservation practices, the need to expand the legal and regulatory framework that governs water usage, lax enforcement of regulations, and pollution are some of the major obstacles that face Lebanon’s water sector. Furthermore, a history of regional conflict and limited attention to institutional capacity further complicates the situation of the water sector, placing Lebanon on the threshold of water scarcity.
USAID and other donors are providing technical and related services to the country’s water sector to respond. Through the Lebanon Water Project (LWP) and a new $40 million project, USAID is improving access to safe drinking water, improving wastewater management, and promoting efficient irrigation in partnership with Lebanon’s five public water utilities. USAID also engages with local communities, municipalities, civil society, and the local private sector as key partners for addressing challenges in the water sector. Key portfolio themes include promoting better governance of water and sanitation and strengthening institutions as a means to achieving long-term water security.
The LWP is coordinated closely with other donors — including Italy, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank — that provide capital investments and technical assistance to the water sector in Lebanon. Together with the U.S. Department of Interior’s USGS, USAID is supporting Lebanon to identify high potential sites rapidly for aquifer recharge through the Acceleration of Aquifer Storage and Recovery Program.
USAID’s activities are estimated to increase new subscribers to public water services by 2,700, and enable 600,000 people to receive improved water service quality as a result of LWP by 2020.
The Lebanon Country Plan is costed based on prior year resources still available for programming, the FY 2017 estimated allocation of $23.0 million, and the FY 2018 President’s Budget Request of $18.4 million.