To protect Lebanon’s precious water supply for future generations, Lebanon’s Water Institutions have partnered together to launch a new campaign, with the support of the European Union and UNICEF, to promote the importance of water as a life-saving resource and strengthen cooperation with communities across the country to protect water. The four main Water Institutions of Lebanon – represented by the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment, the North Lebanon Water Establishment, the South Lebanon Water Establishment, and the Bekaa Water Establishment.
The launch was announced at a press conference today at the Ministry of Information, under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Energy and Water, Dr. Raymond Ghajar, the Minister of Information, Dr. Manal Abdel Samad, representatives from UNICEF and the European Union, Chairman of the Board / General Director of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment, Eng. Jean Gibran, Chairman of the Board / General Director of the Bekaa Water Establishment, Eng. Rizk Rizk, Chairman of the Board / General Director of the North Lebanon Water Establishment, Mr. Khaled Obaid, and Chairman of the Board / General Director of the South Lebanon Water Establishment. Dr. Wassim Daher, in addition to the work team and media professionals.
During the event, the water institutions confirmed their commitment to continue providing communities with water services while supporting the public to reduce the financialburden of securing water access. The four water establishments also announced significant reductions on the new subscription fee and financial facilities in paying the annual water bill, in support of the communities given the current economic challenges and with the COVID-19.. This is a reflection of the strong beliefs of water institutions in the importance of sharing a common vision and building a transparent relationship with the primary goal of preserving water and continuing to secure this valuable resource.
The water establishments praised the efforts of their workers, especially in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, through which they were able to provide the best possible service under unprecedented operating conditions. Focusing onthe importance of partnerships and strengthening the shared responsibility that brings together their establishments and their subscribers with the aim of preserving water wealth in Lebanon for all.
The campaign will run for one month to inform the public about the available services, calling them to get in touch with the institutions in their regions via their respective hotlines where they can get more details on the discounts on new subscriptionsand the payment facilities offered. In addition, details around the discounts and packages are shared through printed materials as well as the social media pages of each establishment.
Cooperation is the first step that guarantees the success of this partnership and its transmission between generations, and the main pillar capable of expanding capabilities and achieving common goals.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAUNCH EVENT:
Dr. Raymond Ghajar, Minister of Energy and Water:
The Minister of Energy and Water, Dr. Raymond Ghajar, praised the efforts made by managers and employees of the establishments to provide the best services to the public across Lebanon, despite the challenges they face in their daily work, whether due to the COVID-19 pandemic or due to the deteriorating economic conditions. The impact of these conditions on the establishments are reflected in the cost of maintenance work, project implementation and money collection. Many people are not aware that water establishmentsare public institutions that are financially and administratively independent, and that they depend entirely on taxation in operating their facilities and networks and paying the salaries of their employees. This highlights the importance of the partnership between them and the public to ensure the continuity of their work and thus provide water for future generations. He added that through this campaign, water establishments seek to confirm their commitment to providing public water service in accordance with the best national standards, to standing by the citizens permanently, and to support them in various circumstances to reduce the burden on their shoulders, through several decisions issued. The most prominent of which are: Significant reductions in the subscription fee and using financial facilities to pay the annual water bill which reflects goodwill, solidarity and standing by citizens in these difficult economic times and constitutes the beginning of building a solid and sustainable partnership.
Dr. Manal Abdel Samad, Minister of Information:
The Minister of Information, Dr. Manal Abdel Samad Najd, highlighted that the media and advertisement campaign titled: “Through Cooperation We Preserve Water for Future Generation,” launched by the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Water and Energy in partnership with supportive international organizations, namely UNICEF and the European Union, is aimed at managing proper usage of water. “Our blue wealth should be preserved,” Minister Abdel Samad maintained.
Minister Abdel Samad welcomed representatives of public water institutions, hailing their efforts as well as the efforts of all directors and employees in the water resources’ administration, saying “I want to shed light on the pursuit of water institutions to affirm their commitment to providing public water service according to the best national standards, particularly through launching this campaign.” The Minister cited the important decisions issued by the water institutions in this regard.
Abdel Samad also thanked the representatives of UNICEF and the European Union for their continued support to public water institutions in Lebanon, whether in Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the South, Bekaa and the North, by contributing to the establishment of a modern water reservoir network across the Lebanese areas and in the installation of counters to help rationalize consumption.
Referring to the media role in this regard, Minister Abdel Samad highlighted the paramount importance of media outlets in spreading awareness and guidance to ensure the success of this campaign.
“We count on you to spread awareness, education and guidance to ensure the success of this campaign ‘Through Cooperation We Preserve Water for Future Generation’,” Minister Abdel Samad said.
Mr. Michele Pierpaoli, Program Manager Water and Wastewater at EU Delegation of Lebanon:
Mr. Michele Pierpaoli, Program Manager Water and Wastewater at EU Delegation of Lebanon said, the EU has been traditionally been involved in the water sector to assure that Water Establishments’ are strengthened. This puts them in better position to respond to the needs of the citizens in terms of service and accountability. The support has further increased during the last year to assure that continuity of public service is guaranteed as much as possible during these difficult times for Lebanon. To guarantee sustainability, the trust between the citizen and the public service providers should be reinforced. We consider this campaign as an important step in the right direction.
Mr. Olivier Thonet, Chief of WASH, UNICEF:
Mr. Olivier Thonet, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program at UNICEF Lebanon said that while the impact of water scarcity can be felt by all, no one suffers more than the most vulnerable children. Throughout the years, UNICEF supported Lebanon’s water sector to ensure equitable access to safe water to all, especially to children and families living in vulnerable communities. Today, in partnership with the European Union, UNICEF is reaffirming its commitment to support the Water Establishments to ensure the delivery of water and wastewater services where it is needed most, especially in these times of Covid-19.
Dr. Wassim Daher, Chairman of the Board of Directors / Director General of the South Lebanon Water Establishment:
On the occasion of the campaign launch, Dr. Wassim Daher, Chairman of the Board of Directors / Director General of the South Lebanon Water Establishment, stressed the importance on the importance of the message of partnership that the campaign communicates and the establishment’s continuous efforts to secure all possible facilities for the public and to ensure the continuity of water services despite all the surrounding and stressful circumstances. He also praised the efforts made by engineers, employees and workers that led to the continuity of water provision, despite the harsh economic and health conditions, and contributed to the completion of the package of facilities, cuts and administrative procedures necessary during a record period to ensure the public’s immediate benefit from the offerings.
Chairman of the Board of Directors / Director General of the Bekaa Water Establishment – Engineer Rizk Gerges Rizk:
In turn, the Chairman of the Board of Directors / Director General of the Bekaa Water Establishment – Engineer Rizk Gerges Rizk praised the remarkable efforts of the employees of the Bekaa Water Establishment and the other water establishments during the exceptional circumstances that the country is going through, stressing the insistence of the institutions’ work teams to complete their tasks despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and despite the decline of the current standard of living with the lack of electricity and fuel to maintain the public service establishmentand secure water services for subscribers.
Chairman of the Board of Directors / General Manager of the North Lebanon Water Establishment, Mr. Khaled Barakat Obaid:
For his part, the Chairman of the Board of Directors / General Manager of the North Lebanon Water Establishment, Mr. Khaled Barakat Obaid, stressed the importance of this campaign as it highlights the importance of partnership and the crystallization of the shared future vision. Water is a heritage and a legacy, preserved by the efforts of the workers, employees and engineers of the institution, who have persevered in devoting all their energies to serving the citizens in these difficult living conditions and the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid 19). The relentless cooperation and partnership between the public and the institution is the real force for moving the wheel of water, for water is life.
Chairman and General Director of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment, Eng. Jean Gibran: The Chairman and General Director of the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment, Eng. Jean Gibran, highlighted the importance of their cooperation in achieving their common goals, through this solidarity a lot can be accomplished, including the preservation of water resources in the long run. The establishment will always remain by the public’s side, especially during the difficult economic conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic. He also praised the great efforts of the establishment’s employees despite these difficult circumstances.