UNICEF sustainable water projects in Lebanon’s Beqaa mean families have access to water
After Lebanon’s economic crisis caused dire water shortages, the rehabilitation of a spring in the village of Younine is a much-needed sustainable solution to ensure everyone has water
Under the shade of an apricot tree, six-year-old Ali is transfixed with the water flowing from the small fountain pond in his family’s courtyard.
With a beaming smile he repetitively fills up a water bottle and slowly pours it out.
Sitting by her son as he plays, Hanaa’, a mother of four, washes potatoes, cauliflower and eggplant for their evening meal.
Before UNICEF cleaned and restored the spring which flows into the pond, Hanaa’ and her family were not able to relax and carry out such simple tasks, because the water was thin and dirty.
“The spring was dirty before, which made me worried about cleaning the vegetables in it,” Hanaa’ says, as she picks a green apricot from the tree and washes it in the flowing water.
“Also because of the small amount of water, it hindered me doing the laundry and bathing the children.”
With the funding support of Germany through the German Development Bank KfW, UNICEF recently rehabilitated Ras al Ain spring in the village of Younine where Hanaa’s family lives.
UNICEF also built a 1,000 cubic meter water reservoir with the support of Germany through the German Development Bank KfW.
As Lebanon fell into economic crisis in 2019, electricity – which water pumping stations rely on - became scarce across the country, fuel for electricity generators became difficult to obtain and water providers are also unable to afford maintenance and repairs for the water networks.
“The Ras El Ein spring used to be contaminated and low in quantity, after UNICEF project to rehabilitate and renovate the spring the result was more water, because it was channelled in the right way, and the quality of water was better,” Mayor Mohamed Zougheib says.
Hanaa’ says she now uses the spring water for everything, besides washing vegetables she cleans the house, the dishes and clothes with it.
The houses in Younine are also equipped with tanks, but they would experience shortages in water due to a low-capacity reservoir which relied on only two hours of government electricity, meaning Hanaa’ only had water in her tank three days a week before the UNICEF project.
“The tap water always cut out when there was no electricity so I had to ration the water, even drinking water,” Hanaa’ says.
Their family had to pay 300,000 Lebanese Lira (12 USD) per week for a water truck to come and fill their tank to make up for the shortage, a cost that keeps inflating due to the economic crisis.
Instead of paying for water, Hanaa’ and her husband Mehdi say they now use the money on transporting the children to their school which is far away.
“Water is everything, water is life, you need it for every single detail of the house, especially when you have kids and they go to school,” Mehdi says, as Hanaa’ hangs out the kids’ washing.