BEIRUT — The Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment announced Wednesday that it will impose "a harsh" water rationing system due to its "inability to buy diesel in hard currency," but did not give specifics of how the rationing scheme will be structured or rolled out.
Among the causes of the need to ration supply, the water establishment cited an Électricité du Liban (EDL) statement from Aug. 14 in which the state power provided said it was "asking administrations, institutions, water establishments and others in all regions of Lebanon to pay their electricity bills in cash in 'fresh' Lebanese lira to EDL's account at Banque du Liban, and not by bank transfer."
This poses a problem for the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment, which, according to its statement, is "it is no longer able to secure diesel fuel to operate water pumping stations operating on generators because the establishment does not have hard currency [fresh US dollars]."
The water establishment also expressed fear that it would reaching the stage of complete water outages in areas that are fed by the main pumping stations operating on generators.
The establishment's ability to maintain water supply has also been affected by its struggle to secure funding for the maintenance of pumping stations. In its statement, it points out that it "will not be able to carry out the necessary repairs on the pumps because this requires securing materials and spare parts from abroad in hard currency, which is impossible to secure through the contractors who are currently working for the corporation in LBP."
The establishment went on to stress the need to find "quick solutions that would end the subscribers' suffering and help the public institutions that struggle to survive."
Mired in the worst economic crisis in the country's history, water cuts have become a regular occurrence in Lebanon. Suppliers blame the water cuts on a lack of electricity and resources, as well as poor working conditions and stolen equipment.