Thursday, April 17, 2014
AL-QAA, Lebanon: On a warm spring day in the Bekaa Valley town of Al-Qaa, Hana Rizk stood outside his neighbor’s one-story house, a tired grimace on his face from coping with the town’s insufficient water supply.
“The water came for two hours today,” Rizk said with quiet anger. “The last time it was turned on was two days ago and now it probably won’t come for another two to three days. How much use can we get out of two hours of water?”
Many residents in Lebanon’s semi-arid Bekaa Valley have received what they say are inadequate amounts of water in recent months, a situation attributed to complications including the lack of precipitation this past winter and the torrential influx of refugees from neighboring Syria.
The water concern is magnified in Al-Qaa, a Greek Catholic town 10 kilometers from the Syrian border, by tales of mismanagement and accusations of corruption among the town’s municipal water committee.
The Bekaa Valley is Lebanon’s driest region and normally receives an average of up to 600mm of rainfall each year. And as summer rapidly approaches fears of drought are escalating because the region has only received 240 milimeters of rainfall, making 2014 the driest in 100 years.