The Dutch programme “Strengthening the Lebanese Water and Agriculture Sector” will support Lebanon with advanced Dutch expertise in water and agriculture. It will be implemented by Waternet, the public water company for the City of Amsterdam and surroundings. The programme is part of a 86 million Euro aid package, made available by the Netherlands government last year in order to help Lebanon cope with the impact of the refugee crisis and its heavy toll on local infrastructure.
The five components of the programme are:
- A Water Operator Partnership (WOP) between the Bekaa Water Establishment and Waternet. A long term partnership between two water companies to improve the performance of the Bekaa Water Establishment and to prepare BWE to take on new tasks in waste water treatment.
- Support to the Litani River Authority in water quality monitoring and algae control through the supply of water quality monitoring and algae control stations for Lake Qaraoun.
- Pilot artificial recharge projects demonstrating the feasibility of small scale artificial recharge to groundwater. This will lead to an increase of available fresh water resources.
- Innovations in irrigation practices by smallholder farmers through affordable soil sensor technology and advisory services, in co-operation with Green Plan and the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute.
- Adaptable greenhouses: using advanced Dutch greenhouses techniques for the developments of demonstration greenhouses that are affordable and adapted to local conditions. Improved greenhouses lead to an increase in crop production and water efficiency.
In addition an Expert Facility has been created to mobilize Dutch water and agriculture expertise at short notice. This facility is open to Lebanese authorities and international institutions that would like to strengthen the impact of their activities by using expertise from the Netherlands.
Waternet will implement the two year programme in co-operation with Wageningen University & Research – Netherlands foremost agricultural university, Acacia Water and in close cooperation with local partners: the Bekaa Water Establishment, the Litani River Authority, Green Plan, the Lebanese Agriculture Research Institute, the Ministry of Energy and Water and other Lebanese institutions.