The University of Balamand – Issam Fares Faculty of Technology (IFFT) in Beino-Akkar hosted a local dissemination event on October 8, 2019 for the Integrated Water Resource Management Project of the Al Oustuan River Basin. The project is funded by the EU Regional Trust Fund MADAD and led by the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water.
Acting Dean of IFFT, Professor Elie Karam gave a welcoming address on behalf of the University of Balamand thanking ACTED that has made incredible efforts in favor of the protection of the river basin. He assured the attendees that the IFFT is committed to contribute to Akkar and the region through actively engaging in development projects in a multitude of disciplines. Professor Karam reiterated the university’s readiness and commitment to serve Akkar with a special focus on key topics like agriculture and water resources.
Mr. Joseph Nassar, Communications Manager of ACTED, presented the project and the role of each party in the study and its subsequent implementation. Mr. Michel Majdalani from BTD for Construction and Engineering highlighted different water and sewage treatment projects in Akkar.
In turn, Professor Najib Gergess gave a detailed presentation on behalf of the University of Balamand team working on the project. He shed light on the problems of the Al Ostuan river basin and its springs highlighting the various technical tasks of the project. A team from the University of Balamand is recruited to handle the scientific aspect of the project in terms of collection, analysis, and mapping of the data. The aim of the study is to improve the conservation and management of the Al Ostuan river basin and to maximize its economic, environmental, and social benefits. Professor Gergess underlined the study objective which are to:
- Raise awareness and implement good water conservation management practices in the Al Ostuan river basin; to work with the local and national stakeholders to define policy targets
- Design the demand management measures for the Al Ostuan river basin targeting better water allocation in the basin across all economic sectors
- Promote and to support participatory water management in the Al Ostuan river basin; to improve water governance
- Create a joint vision for the Al Ostuan river basin for the present and the future.
The information will be processed and mapped out using GIS technology through the work of the GIS Center at the Faculty of Engineering. This mapping enables simulation of the impacts of future climate and socio-economic scenarios in the region, leading to optimization based on assessment of response measures, and the definition of policy-relevant targets and program of measures.
The event also featured contributions from various stakeholders in the project, and enriched by inputs from presidents of local municipalities. The contributions focused on the importance of the project for the region and that it is a crucial step towards the development of the region. Mr. Marwan Ghosh of GREEN PLAN spoke about farmers' projects and services in Akkar, and ACTED Solid Waste Management Advisor Mr. Elie Madi also had an intervention.
The activity was concluded with a video presentation on the reality of the river and the apparent problems in the water and its banks, and information from a number of villagers living in the river basin. The participatory approach adopted in this project means that this session is an introductory session towards several workshops and sessions that will be held according to the project time frame.