ReWater MENA organizes workshop on the Safe Use of Wastewater in Lebanon

Beirut- ReWater MENA project “More and Safer Water Reuse in the Middle East and North Africa”, in cooperation with Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), organized the first virtual e-learning workshop in Lebanon on the Safe Use of Wastewater during the period April 19-29, 2021. The workshop aims to build and strengthen the capacities of different stakeholders and participants from Lebanon in the field of safe use of wastewater, building on four training modules. The modules include: Stakeholders’ acceptance and gender integration in reuse interventions, assessing the Economic Feasibility for Integrated Wastewater Reuse (WWR) Projects: From Formulation to Reporting, Governance and Reuse Safety Plans, and Water Reuse Technologies.

Wastewater presents a great potential for bridging the supply-demand gap as it is the only water source which increases as the population grows, as mentioned by Dr. Amgad Elmahdi, Head of IWMI MENA Office. He refers to wastewater as untapped resource. Thus, the use of treated wastewater (TWW) in agriculture is considered one of the most sustainable alternatives to cope with water scarcity, especially considering that agriculture accounts for 80% of the region’s freshwater withdrawals. He said that there are many challenges facing the use of treated wastewater in the Arab region, including social, institutional, economic, and cultural challenges.  He assured on the need to deal with these challenges by developing plans and a road map for the three countries participating in ReWater MENA project, namely Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

Eng. Khaldon Khashman, the Secretary-General of ACWUA, emphasized on the importance of the fields covered by the training course for the first time in the Arab region. He also mentioned that the Arab region lacks wastewater reuse safety plans that deal starting from the water coming out of homes through the water collection and purification system, throughout its safe use till the impact on water users.

Dr. Nisreen Lahham, the Regional Project Manager, said that ReWater MENA project aims to expand the safe use of the treated waste water in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by addressing barriers to reuse and identifying validated reuse models through building the capacities of 400 trainees in the three countries, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. She stated that the expansion of treated wastewater reuse would offer an alternative solution to meet agricultural water demand, saving freshwater for domestic uses and ultimately coping with water scarcity.

ReWater MENA project is a regional project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The project is running in three countries in the MENA region; Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, in partnership with many entities and organizations at the local, regional and international levels including: the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), the Arab Water Council (AWC), the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, The Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS), the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Egypt.