Ministry of Energy and Water and UNICEF join efforts to improve access to water in Lebanon’s six governorates

The Ministry of Energy and Water and UNICEF announced today 20 new projects which will ensure improved access to water for more than 300,000 people across Lebanon. The governments of the United Kingdom (US$ 6M) and the United States of America (US$ 1.7M) fund the projects.

The announcement was made following a meeting between His Excellency the Minister of Energy and Water, Mr. Arthur Nazarian, and UNICEF’s Representative in Lebanon, Ms. Tanya Chapuisat.

“Water and Energy are basic infrastructure for life and well being. In 2010, the water supply deficit was estimated at 600 million cubic meters per year. This deficit has been aggravated by population growth, the inability to achieve the planned strategy in a timely manner and, more importantly, the presence of 1.5 million displaced Syrians since 2012. This has resulted in reduced water quantity, quality and negative impacts on both public health and environment,” said Minister Nazarian, adding, “the Ministry of Energy and Water is grateful for the support of UNICEF and its donors and we count on the continued support of the international community.”

The projects include the construction of eight reservoirs to increase storage capacity, rehabilitating and extending water networks in nine localities, rehabilitating two pumping stations and the equipping of a new well. Collectively these projects improve water supply levels for Lebanon’s most vulnerable communities.

“A sustainable source of safe water is immensely important for the health of children. If we can’t guarantee safe drinking water for all children in Lebanon, both from host and refugee populations, we’re putting their lives on the line. Safe drinking water is simply a basic right and a prerequisite for children’s physical development,” said Ms. Chapuisat, UNICEF representative in Lebanon. “That is why UNICEF has made maintaining and improving Lebanon’s water and sanitation infrastructure a priority.”

In 2015, UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Energy and Water, scaled up its water and sanitation activities in the most vulnerable areas of Lebanon, benefitting 1.4 million people, mitigating public health risks and tensions between communities. Two thirds of them were Lebanese, one third were Syrian.

UNICEF’s work on water provision and infrastructure in Lebanon is twofold; temporary provision of services to mitigate public health hazards, and secondly stabilization and strengthening of national water strategies through support to regional water authorities across the country.

His Excellency the minister and UNICEF’s representative also discussed future projects, studies and this year’s joint workplan.

Source: National News Agency

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