The problem of the water resources in Lebanon demands
careful study. Nature has bestowed on Lebanon abundant
riches of every kind, material and human. The hydraulic
riches are incalculable, on the surface rivers, springs,
rain, melting snows and dams, and in addition water
deep underground. Even the fresh water bubbling up
under the coastal sea, drinkable and recoverable,
is estimated at several billion cubic meters a year.
Descending from the mountain chains extending down
from the high ranges of Asia Minor, with the accumulated
eternal snows nourishing the underground reservoirs,
from north to south, facing Shekka, Jounieh and Tyre,
precious water that could be easily exploited rises
from under the Mediterranean and is lost. This underground
water is inexhaustible.
As for the surface water resources, they are many
and varied; a number of dams have been built and others
are under construction in order to make the best use
of the “white coal”. All the rivers flow westwards
to the sea, with the exception of the Orontes, El-Assi,
which runs northward before emptying into the sea
in the Turkish area.
There is just one river, the Hasbani with its El-Wazani
tributary that flows south towards Israeli-controlled
land before emptying into Lake Tiberius. The Hasbani
takes its name from its source fifty-seven kilometers
from the frontier at Tamoura at the foot of Mount
Hermon. On its southward course it irrigates the cultivated
land of the region and provides water for several
villages. It passes by Dnaibi, Mimes, Ain Mentem and
Kawkaba, and after passing round Hasbaya turns towards
Fardis, Ebel es-Saqi and Ain Arab, where it changes
its name from El-Wazani. It then runs through the
region of El-Gajar and Maissate, to cross the southern
frontier and flow into Lake Tiberius.
Several small tributaries flow into this river, which
is one of the purest in the world, unpolluted, pure,
healthy, mineral, natural and drinkable, indeed a
treasure. There are historic bridges, water mills,
and olive and grape presses, all of which draw tourists,
holiday-makers and nature-lovers. At Deir Mimas there
are more than fifty-four springs, a fact which shows
how rich the region is in water.
According to tradition, anyone accused of a crime
would have to cross the waters of the river. If he
came out safe and sound he was considered innocent,
while if he was drowned he was considered to have
Of all these rich water resources Lebanon draws profit
from 7 to 8% maximum. It is the Israelis who pump
out both the surface and underground water. Here is
a file to be studied for Lebanon to make best used
of its rights and its sovereignty.
But whereas Lebanon,
whether considered as a State or as a people, has
no idea what it should do with all its water, the
Israelis on the other hand know very well what to
do with it and show it clearly.
The Lebanese have no general grand project in mind;
for the moment various private enterprises have
launched large tourist attractions and soon we shall
see hotels, restaurants, complexes, clubs and so
on, all of which will be a real nuisance for Israel.