Sustainability Report 2015


People profiles

Safer drinking water in Lebanon

Duncan Russell
Beirut, Lebanon

As an ERM Technical Director, my passion is the application of water science to assist communities needing access to a reliable water supply.

Lebanon is a country in water stress, with shortcomings both on the infrastructure and management fronts, resulting in difficulties maintaining a reliable supply for residential, agricultural and industrial use. Lebanon has released a National Water Sector Strategy that includes a feasibility study of potential sites where aquifers can be recharged by pumping from natural surface water sources into the underlying bedrock. The aim of the aquifer recharge will be to increase raw water availability for drinking during dry weather or periods of high demand and to reduce human health risks by protecting water resources from surface water contamination.

Working with UNICEF through the ERM Foundation, for a period in late 2015, I will be providing peer review input to assess the potential at 22 identified sites in Lebanon for artificial storage and recharge of surface water into underground aquifers.

Where this can be achieved, it will enable water to be stored during wet weather in low-cost aquifers for later abstraction during dry weather. With minimal capital investment, this project offers the prospect of supporting low-cost health benefits to many people.