Posted by: r.m. | January 23, 2014

Lebanon: 45 days of no rain; climate has changed

There is a lot of exhaustion in the air in Lebanon.  Fatigue from the bombs and the chaos. And fatigue from the lack of rain.  This is winter time. Or so it is claimed.  And yet the winter has been dry.

Lebanon: 45 Days of No Rain Hits Farmers and Residents

“It is a period of real shortage, and we are very worried about it today. We hope to avoid this situation if the shortage is compensated by rainfall during the remainder of January and the coming months of February and March,” said Kamal Mawloud, head of Tripoli’s water authority. He described this period as “an unprecedented development in climate change. I have never seen such a drought in my 30 years in the authority.”

In the south, water catchment wells in the towns of Marjeyoun and Bint Jbeil have dried up, coinciding with the disruption of the main power transformer, which provides electricity to the water pumping station that services more than 20 villages.

This situation prompted an explosion of demand for well water. All of a sudden, the cost of a small quantity of water rose to 40,000 Lebanese lira ($27). “This is only enough for one week, meaning that each family has to pay 200,000 lira ($133) a month to cover its needs of service water,” said Hassan Hamdan from Mais al-Jabal.

So how will adapt to this new climate?

Because it is a new climate.  We are not talking about a future climate change. Rather, the climate has changeD.

2013 tied for the world’s fourth warmest year on record, according to calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. …A statement from NASA adds that “the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere presently is higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years.” In 2013, the world also hit the “sobering milestone” of 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 —a first in human history.  “It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,” Maureen E. Raymo, a Columbia University earth scientist, said of hitting the 400 mark. In one possible emissions scenario, one in which “people pursue personal wealth rather than environmental quality” and current emissions trajectories continue, the world could reach1,000 ppm in one hundred years.



  1. Jad Ghantous A1210451 Biol207
    It is not a welcoming sign to see that the cost of water that is enough for a month is now the equivalence of fancy clothing or an electronic device. Climate change certainly affects every thing we know from prices to life itself. This exactly is why economics and the environmental field should be interlinked and integrated. The economy depends on our ecosystem’s well being

  2. The scarcity of resources has always been a challenge that we have not taken the needed measurements to tackle and the alarm sensed in the article is expected. The problem mainly lies not in the diagnosis as the causes of this climate change that led to a water dilemma have always been known yet actions have failed to meet the urgency of the matter; paying the price of which seems inevitable.

  3. Marianne Bersaoui BIOL207
    We are in a high level of dangerous particular matter along roadways and numerous instances of companies illegally dumping waste especially in the last issue we face in Naameh, we have to be aware of its circumstances and its effect on our life and country. We have to add environmental education to increase awareness and help reduce pollution. Pollution and the increase in CO2 emission is the major cause of this massive climate change that our planet is facing. And as we can notice, 45 days of drought in Lebanon in the Winter season is a catastrophe. In fact, Lebanese are facing scarcity in water, so how would we describe their situation even after a winter season of drought and no rain? Let’s help reducing pollution so that we won’t face the worst.

  4. Reblogged this on Daniel Ibn Zayd and commented:
    A friend, writing his PhD. on water infrastructure in Lebanon, sends me chapters to proof; and it is days of depression afterward realizing how f—ed we are. Meanwhile, in my neighborhood, ironically named “Fountainhead”, they drill for water now not just at the sites of new buildings, but old. The sound of the water delivery truck has risen to the top of the “most-hated Beirut noise” list, surpassing by far honking horns, building demolition, and Israeli jets. In Hamra, the sea water has backed up into the aquifer, and people shower in brackish water….I’m afraid the exhaustion (of the supply, and of our nerves) is just beginning….thanks for bringing attention to it.

  5. Rania,

    do you, or does anyone here, have information about CC models for the middles east / Gulf. It is my understanding that there are no models that a re configured/ calibrated for the ME.
    I.e. while lots of models produce data that is also about the Middle East, it is my understandign that these models are configured/ calibrated for say Europe, probably even Africa etc….
    There seems to be general consensus that avarge temprature in the arab region will be rising.
    But I think there is very little evidence what is going to happen to rainfall patterns. There is a paper by Amin Shaban on CC and its effects on rain, but it is based soley on Lebanese data. The data can hardly be considered consistent etc…
    Nevertheless he shows on average decreasing volumes, also it would be interesting to see what would happen to the trend if the years after 2008 would be included in the Data set.
    All this only to say that the area deserves study beyond statistical modeling. Lebanon is has relatively unique geography in the area, specifcally a two mountain ranges that act as weather barriers, even if only at a small scale.
    It would be really interesting to see if rising tempratures also lead to more evaporation and thus changeing range patterns in Lebanon during the later season. etc
    If anybody know more about this would he real interesting to hear/read about.

  6. The water-shortage issue is not just limited to agricultural sectors, yet as we can see here it is affecting the public in Lebanon (citizens of Marjeyoun and Bint Jbeil and I am sure that it affected many other regions as well). What makes this issue calamitous is that water is a main non-renewable resource. Thus, any small shortage will lead to increased drought and a major concern of the public health and human survival at its extreme. Lebanon is fairly rich in ground water-relative to the neighbouring countries. It wittnesses relatively sufficient amount of rain water yearly, therefore any decrease in this amount will have striking effects as we can see here. This raises an economic issue as well since the price of water has already increased in Lebanon. There’s another idea I would like to point out which doesnot have to do with the issue water, but I noted at the start of this article that Kamal Mawloud (head of Tripoli’s water authority) has been in this position for 30 years… democracy??
    Lynn Bitar

  7. 200,000L.L!! just for the minimal amount of water needed per family. This is added to the many more family burdens such electricity, school fees, and medical care. Poverty thus rises. Population is also increasing!!
    This is all because of water scarcity resulting from non-refutable climate change. Nevertheless, I want to point on something economical and political. The percentage of water invested to the available is low!! So there must be efforts to invest more water to sustain lebanese people with lower price.
    Water growling, water quality, and water distribution are all additional water problems in Lebanon.
    Climate change is telling us drought stories in our region creating a huge water problem with those mentioned before. Something must be done- not privatizing water..
    we must not aim for money at the expense of the environment which is related to our survival as Raymond, an earth scientist, refer to in the article,“people pursue personal wealth rather than environmental quality”.
    Sarab Elsamad BIOL207

  8. Lebanon: 45 Days of No Rain Hits Farmers and Residents is a depressing article, but one that every Lebanese should read.
    $133 dollars to cover water services for a month!
    The poor will not have access to clean water, not that they do already. We don’t really realize how the environment truly affects us until things get really bad (when it’s too late).
    I agree with Jad. Water is now more expensive than clothing. We keep forgetting that it’s a right, not a privilege.

  9. Nicolas Abdallah (BIOL207)
    “Climate Change” is an expression that we have been familiar with during the last few years. However, we did not appreciate its impact on us, thinking that it will take many decades for any “symptoms” -if I shall say- of this phenomenon to appear. The lack of rain we witnessed in Lebanon during the last month is the first sign that the devastating effects of the global warming are much closer than we expected!
    We are usually used to see Lebanese farmers during winters on the TV news reports complaining about the flooded soils that too much rain had caused. Now it’s the other way around! It’s really hard to imagine a Lebanese winter without rain. Unfortunately, we will learn how to start living with this situation, as reversing it is a nearly impossible mission.
    With the rise of water mafias (aka the politicians that both represent and rob the people), it won’t take long for water to become a luxury that is only available to rich people. And this country has already many basic human rights that only the upper class and to some extent the middle class society benefit from (education is an example). Thus, if water joins the list soon, as expected if no serious measures are taken, it’s a major fail to our system, media, and government in my opinion.
    The picture of the future drawn in this post should stimulate us to take effective steps on many levels to decrease water loss and help preserve this vital resource. On a personal level, we must use the minimal amount of water possible to carry our everyday tasks. National media campaigns should be also carried on to guide people on how to use water efficiently. Last but not least, the future generations should start to have some education about the environment and how to maintain it. Or else, we will start seeing rain dances all over the Lebanese territories…. Hopefully we won’t reach this stage!

  10. It seems that only FEW are worried about the shortage in water in Lebanon … Serious and targeting awareness should be spread starting from schools, organizations, and TVs … In my opinion, this awareness is not spread efficiently and is not taken into consideration in many cases … When I was initiating to write this comment, I had the TV on and at exactly 7:51 pm a short report about water and its relation to climate change was reported on Al Jadeed. A specialist noted that between year 2010 – 2020, Lebanon will face a drought similar and even more serious to that in 1930s. I believe that environmental education and awareness are need more than ever to overcome gradually our present and future environmental problems.
    Regarding the increase in cost of water: Lebanon leaves an every day increase in prices of food products, mobile telephones services (I think one of the most expensive in the world!), gas …. everything is getting more and more expensive. Where are we going ? Lebanon which is best known in its rich nature , especially water resources such as rivers, seas, and lakes,is sadly facing an increase in cost of water 😦 للاسف

  11. i think that the issue presented above is very alarming to Lebanon and it is inevitable to treat this issue locally and find solutions as quick as possible and we should put apart all the political conflicts and disagreements. BUT more importantly this problem needs to be considered on an international level between the big guns (EU, US, Russia, China…) because they are the biggest contributors to this crisis. It has been already considered but it was rather silly what politicians did, they don’t seem to understand the size of the issue so its our job to make them understand it. the evidence of climate change is already here so i wish people would see it and if not we should raise the awareness as mush as we can so that everyone WOULD see it around the world and in that way people would put pressure on their governments to act quickly because politicians wont act unless there is huge pressure on them by the people.

  12. This article is describes two of the main problems of climate change , the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere rising drastically , and most importantly about the problem of water shortage ; this problem wasn’t taken seriously at its start , and people kept voiding the subject. From the start of the winter we nearly didn’t a normal rainy day , the climate was fluctuant and unpredictable , but it was the responsibility of the government to take the mater in charge and seek an alternative solution not just waiting if we’ll have more rain in the next days . No one took responsibility till now , in this article we have citation that say that we clearly are passing by a water crises and no one is doing anything about , people in charge are just stating facts with their water being delivered to their homes they still aren’t confronting the problem to its real size and who is paying the price ?? as usual the poor people living in our country when the price of water becomes suddenly 133$ and the minimum official wage is approximately 500$ ; paying for water costs them more than a quarter of their salary if not more so their reaction of praying for rain is normal as what they’re being asked in return of what must be free is unacceptable compared to their salaries . This in a really serious issue and the article explains it very simply too bad ,the news are not boarding the subject with the same severity, and that the state isn’t reacting but is leaving its poor citizen in the hand of the new water mafias.

  13. Climate change is being manifested on many scales, one of them is water scarcity. The climate in Lebanon has changed dramatically in the past few years. This has lead to the scarcity of water. Water is very important in our daily life and yes Lebanon was very rich in its water but we never knew how important this richness is until we lost it. And now providing water for people is harder specially in the high villages. I think that we better start managing the sources of water. For example, many of the water is being lost and wasted. With urbanization and changes in lifestyle, water consumption is bound to increase. However, if we start changing some of our habits the water crisis might be solved. For example, if we know how much water each vegetable, fruit or plant needs we would not use more. If we use water carefully in washing we would save some of it. And many other attempts could be done in our daily life.

  14. The stifling increase in temperature and the sharp decline in annual rainfall has become something that we hear about everyday in Lebanon. Climate has changed, and it’s no longer a process that we are waiting for it to happen. Knowing that humans are the ones responsible for this disastrous change, we should be the ones taking the initiative to repair what we have done wrong before it’s too late. (many think it is!) It is quite alarming that we have exceeded the CO2 level threshold back in the 1980s and that we have now hit the 400 ppm mark. CO2 level in atmosphere is increasing, and the rate of this increase is also increasing; therefore, unless we work on decreasing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, we will be facing even worse droughts and heat waves not only in Lebanon, but also on the global scale.

  15. I was not surprised when I read about the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. With the continuous deforestation and slow reforestation, carbon removal will drop leading to harmful weather shifts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: