Deir El Ahmar, semi-arid region in Bekaa North with an area of 42 hectares and a population of about 30,000 inhabitants, suffers from water scarcity, threatening the future of agriculture and, subsequently, the stability of the society, in light of the massive Syrian crisis and a significant internal migration of its youth. This requires the establishment of an appropriate water conservation and management system.
Based on this reality, the Istituto per la Cooperazione Universitaria (ICU), in partnership with the Organisation for Social and Agricultural Development (OSAD), has proposed a project entitled “Environmental Optimization of Sustainable Irrigation Management and Household water use in the Semi-arid region of Deir El-Ahmar / Beqaa Valley” to European Union funded “AFKAR III” program under the management of the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform.
The co-financing proposal, for the amount of 625.000 Euro of which 125.000 Euro as contribution from the local civil society was accepted.
Project activities were identified during a discussion involving local civil society organisations, municipalities, farmers and local educational institutions.
The project started in June 2016 and is scheduled to end in May 2018. It targets agricultural cooperatives, food processing cooperatives, Lebanese farmers and women cooperatives in Deir El Ahmar.
The project has two aspects: the first, social in order to promote the livelihoods of the community, and the second environmental, as it seeks to improve the efficiency of water use.
To achieve these objectives, the project will support the installation of advanced irrigation scheduling systems, improved farm techniques, household and industrial water treatment technologies. In addition, a 10-kilometer irrigation water network will be installed in Beit Bou Sleibi, and between Ainata, Mchaytieh and Qorameh. It will also help the establishment of a 20,000 m3 lake in Deir El Ahmar (Lake Mallaha). Finally, the project will launch awareness campaigns on the importance of water management in arid zones and will develop the capacity of more than 300 farmers to use irrigation techniques and advanced planning systems.