The Lebanese government has decided to go ahead with the construction of a controversial dam in the Bisri Valley ignoring criticism of the project’s impact on the environment. Examining water management and the politics behind dams in Lebanon, this paper sheds light on environmental activists’ local resistance to the project and outlines how it became interlinked with a wider national contestation seeking to renegotiate what the public good means in Lebanon.
In July 2016, tests done by the South Lebanon Water Establishment showed that the Litani’s muddy waters contained bacteria that cause a multitude of diseases, including typhoid and salmonella. Even the land surrounding the river was not spared, as 37 per cent of the area has been infected with salmonella, according to the SLWA (the accepted “safe” level is two per cent).
After Beirut’s Ramlet el Bayda, Batroun’s Kfarabida rocky beach and the ancient port of Adloun, the historic salt marshes of the northern town of Anfeh may become the latest casualty of Lebanon’s long history of coastal privatization.