Panel Registers Request for Inspection of Water Projects in Lebanon
The Inspection Panel on September 12, 2018, registered a Request for Inspection of the Water Supply Augmentation Project and the Greater Beirut Water Supply Project (GBWSP) and its Additional Financing in Lebanon.
The Request was received on August 6, 2018, from the Lebanon Eco Movement, a network of 60 environmental non-governmental organizations, representing 42 local inhabitants, workers and community representatives. The Request also included as attachments a petition signed by 1,500 residents of impacted villages and an online petition with 2,200 signatures of people from Lebanon and other countries. The Requesters, who requested confidentiality, are concerned about the construction of the Bisri Dam on the Awwali River in the Bisri Valley in Lebanon, and claim that the assessment of alternatives was inadequate. They allege harm to natural habitats, forests, cultural heritage, agriculture, and water sources, as well as a lack of consultation and participation. The Requesters also express concerns related to the geology and seismology of the project area.
The project development objective of the Water Supply Augmentation Project is to “increase the volume of water available to the Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon area.” The project component subject to the Request involves construction and construction supervision of the dam and associated infrastructure. The GBSWP finances in part the construction of a water tunnel conveyor that is to supply the Greater Beirut area with potable water and supplemental studies on sector areas in alignment with the priorities set forth in the National Water Sector Strategy.
The Panel’s registration of the Request implies no judgment on the merits of the complaint. Bank management has 21 business days from the registration date to respond to the issues raised in the Request. More