Topographically, Lebanon can be divided from west to east into four parallel parts:
A flat, narrow coastal strip parallel to the sea; the Lebanon Mountains chain, the highest crest of which is just over 3,000 meters (m); the Bekaa Valley at a height of around 900 m; the Anti-Lebanon Mountains chain, which rises to 2,800 m, in the east.
The cultivable area is estimated at 360,000 hectares (ha), or 35% of the total area. During the period 1992-94, the total cultivated area was estimated at 189,206 ha, of which 104,120 ha consisted of annual crops and 85,086 ha consisted of permanent crops, mainly fruit trees and olives. The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to start up a national agricultural census in 1996, the last one being carried out in 1970. According to the 1970 census there were 140,000 farm holdings with 63% having less than 2 ha of land, which means that agriculture is characterized by land fragmentation. However, there are indications of a decrease in the number of very small farms and in 1985 it was reported that about 46% of the farm holdings had less than 2 ha of land.
In total, there are about 40 major streams in Lebanon and, based on the hydrographic system, the country can be divided into five regions:
The El Assi (Orontes) river basin in the north. The El Assi flows into Syria in the north-east of the country; the Litani river basin in the east and south. The Litani reaches the sea in the south-west of the country; the Hasbani river basin in the south-east. The Hasbani, which flows into Israel in the south east of the country, is a tributary of the Jordan River; all the remaining major coastal river basins. The northern El Kebir river basin is shared with Syria, the river itself forming part of the border between the two countries before flowing into the sea; all the remaining small in-between scattered and isolated sub-catchments with no noticeable surface streamflow, like the endorheic catchments and isolated coastal pockets.
Lebanon has a relatively favorable position as far as its rainfall and water resources are concerned, but constraints for development consist of the limited water availability during the seven dry summer months. Annual internal renewable water resources are estimated at about 4.8 cubic kilometers (km3). Annual surface runoff is estimated at 4.1 km3 and groundwater recharge at 3.2 km3, of which 2.5 km3 constitutes the base flow of the rivers. About 1 km3 of this flow comes from over 2,000 springs with about 10-15 liter per second (L/s) of average unit yield, sustaining a perennial flow for 17 of the total of 40 major streams in the country.
Lebanon being at a higher elevation than its neighbors has practically no incoming surface water flow. A contribution of 74 million cubic meters per year (m3/year) to the El Kebir River, to the north, is estimated to be generated by the 707 km2 bordering Syrian catchment areas. There might also be some groundwater inflow from these areas, but no figures on quantities are available. Surface water flow to Syria is estimated at 510 million m3/year through the El-Assi (Orontes)) river and the bordering El Kebir river. A recent (informal) agreement between Lebanon and Syria on the Orontes river has led to a share of 80 million m3/year for Lebanon and the remainder for Syria. Surface water flow to Israel is estimated at 160 million m3/year, of which about 138 million m3 through the Hasbani river including a contribution of 30 million m3 from its tributary, the Wazzani spring. Annual groundwater outflow is estimated at 1,030 million m3, of which 130 million m3 to Syria, 180 million m3 to Israel and 720 million m3 to the sea.
The relative importance of groundwater flow to the sea and the difficulties related to its control, added to the difficult geological conditions of most of the investigated sites for storage dams, make the manageable resources of Lebanon certainly much lower than the global figure of 4.8 km3/year. The most realistic figure recognized does not exceed 2.2-2.5 km/year.
The Litani River Authority implemented three hillside stock ponds in the early 1970s for a total storage capacity of about 1.8 million m3.
The World Bank reports that at least 80 countries have water shortages and 2 billion people lack access to clean water. More disturbingly, the World Health Organization has reported that 1 billion people lack enough water to simply meet their basic needs, unfortunately in many countries water is scarce or contaminated.
Other than river water, Lebanon relies heavily on groundwater as a source for drinking water, mainly replenished from rain and snowfall. The wells in the region are over extracted, causing a major problem for the aquifers. Over extraction of the aquifers is causing sea water intrusion, making it much more difficult to treat the water. The TDS in the wells increases and can reach up to 25,000 ppm. In order to treat water at that level, you must use a desalination system instead of a brackish water reverse osmosis system, which increases the cost for the end-user.
The problem of overusing well water can be solved by increasing the use of sea water reverse osmosis systems in the region. Because Lebanon has access to the Mediterranean Sea, using desalination systems will help with water shortage.
Pure Aqua designs, engineers, and manufactures sea water reverse osmosis systems from 380 to 660,000 gallons per day.
Pure Aqua sold a system to a livestock vessel that would transport animals from New Zealand to Lebanon. The issue they were facing was the cost and energy needed to transport drinking water for the livestock on the vessel. They needed a solution that would save them money and fuel. Pure Aqua designed a desalination system that was installed directly on the vessel to provide them with clean drinking water.
Beirut City Center:
Pure Aqua manufactured a sea water reverse osmosis system for human consumption. Beirut City Center required a sea water system to treat well water with a feed water TDS of 12,000 ppm. The feed water contained high levels of iron as well. Pure Aqua provided a birm filter to treat the water before being passed on to the RO system. The sea water systems capacity was 4.8 lit/sec, manufactured with pre and post treatment.
Pure Aqua designed and manufactured an industrial sea water reverse osmosis system to treat 36,000 GPD to treat well water in Lebanon.
Pure Aqua provides a wide range of filtration and economical solutions based on Lebanon's water resources.
Lebanon's main water resources are:
- Surface water “is water from river, rain water, lake or fresh water wetland, which can be treated using different methods, such as Ultrafiltration Systems, Media Water Filters, brackish Water RO.
- Desalination can be used for water from ocean, or sea source, which can be treated using Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Systems; Desalination Systems
- Ground Water or brackish water is from water located in the pore space of soil and rock “Borehole well”, which can be treated using Reverse Osmosis Systems, Media Water Filters, Chemical Dosing, UV Sterilizers.
- Government water supply, which could have high level of hardness or high level of chlorine, can be treated with Water Softeners, Media Water Filters
Pure Aqua manufactures water treatment systems that meet the World Health Organization requirements.