Greater Beirut has been facing a deficit in potable water for the past forty years. Shortage in water is estimated today at 145,000 m3/d and 275,000 m3/day for the wet and dry seasons, respectively.
In 1970 the Lebanese Government of the day passed a decree (Presidential Decree No. 14522, May 1970) in which it allocated water from the Litani and Awali river catchments to different regions in Lebanon. As a result, Greater Beirut was allocated 50 million cubic meters for the dry season. This corresponds to 250,000 m3/day (3m3/s) of water.
In 1977 the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) on behalf of the Government requested from the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR) to study the options for providing additional water resources to Greater Beirut. Significant number of studies dealing with conveying water by means of a tunnel and pipelines has been carried out.
At the beginning of 1994, CDR contracted Montgomery Watson and Engico to update the feasibility study submitted by them in 1985 to re-evaluate options of the tunnel and pipeline for the conveyor. Montgomery Watson and Engico completed the feasibility study in April 1995. They completed the detailed design reports and tender documents in late 1997 and early 1998. While Montgomery Watson and Engico were preparing the studies relating to the Awali-Beirut Conveyor, CDR based on Government Decision 31, 7/4/1982, in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank, started to investigate ways of funding and executing the conveyor. A decision was made to execute the conveyor on the basis of a contract, which would have a life span of 25 years.
Today the CDR is seeking to secure financing of the project from the World Bank whereas the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water and Wastewater Establishment (BMLWWE) will be covering the local counterpart financing needs. It was finally decided to commission the project based on conventional contracting basis with four years expected construction duration and one year operational maintenance.
The CDR has contracted Montgomery Watson Harza to re-evaluate its latest feasibility study and has contracted ELARD group for the purpose of updating the latest Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study submitted by Montgomery Watson and Engico in 1998.
1.2General Project Description and Location
The project aims at securing a sustainable source of potable water to Greater Beirut to overcome the existing deficit and meeting the city's potable water requirements on the short and medium term.
The Project encompasses the following components:
The construction of a transmission conveyor from the Awali River just north of Saida to Beirut (Awali-Beirut Conveyor);
The construction of water supply networks within Greater Beirut area to distribute the water supplied through the conveyor to the inhabitants of the area (Greater Beirut Water Supply Networks).
The Awali-Beirut Conveyor will supply, by gravity, the Greater Beirut area with approximately 250,000 m3/day (3 m3/s) during the dry season. The conveyor will meet the needs of Greater Beirut in the short to medium terms. A detailed description of sub-components is provided in Section2.
The Greater Beirut Water Supply Networks component comprises construction of 16 reservoirs (between 500 m3 and 1000 m3 storage capacity each), replacement and/or installation of approximately 187 km of distribution network and associated pumping stations as well as Installation of 200,000 household meters in portions of the project area to be selected by the GBMLWWE and to operate on a volumetric tariff basis.
Construction works are expected to be completed within four years.
The ESIA is an important decision-making tool required by the Ministry of Environment and by the World Bank, that ensures that the environmental hazards and effects of the Project are identified and evaluated prior to operations, and that appropriate control measures are implemented. The main objective of this study is to determine the potential environmental and social impacts associated with the proposed Project.
Provide a detailed description of all Project activities and work plans to be carried out in sea and on land.
Describe the existing environmental baseline conditions of the Study Area covering the physical, marine biodiversity, socio-economic, and cultural elements likely to be affected by the proposed dredging and disposal activities and/or likely to cause adverse impacts upon the Project, including both natural and man-made environments;
Identify and assess the potential impacts on environmental and social resources associated with the Project;
Identify the nature and extent of any significant potential environmental and social impacts be they positive (beneficial) or negative (adverse), temporary or permanent. This shall include routine, non-routine (planned) operations and unplanned (accidental) events;
Identify any significant cumulative or transboundary impacts of the project and recommend appropriate actions to mitigate or minimize these impacts during the project execution;
Identify and evaluate appropriate mitigation measures for these impacts;
Identify any residual impacts following application of mitigation; and
Identify, assess and specify methods, measures and standards to be included in the detailed design, operation and handover of the Project, which are necessary to mitigate these impacts and reduce them to acceptable levels.
The ESIA study shall ensure that:
The Project complies with international treaties, agreements and industrial standards and guidelines.
The Project under assessment complies with relevant Lebanese legislations, standards and World Bank requirements.