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The Characteristics of the Litani River

The Litani is the largest river in Lebanon in length and width, with a length reaching 170 Km and a watr capacity of 750 m3 per year. Many projects and studies were conducted to benefit from this river by producing hydroelectric power and providing drinking and irrigation water to the Bekaa, the South and the coastal areas coast with view to developing both the agricultural and electrical sectors as well as reducing exodus and migration.

The Litani Basin

  • The Litani’s Basin ranks first in terms of area (2,175 km2), the equivalent of 20% of Lebanon’s area; 80% of the basin is located in the Bekaa valley and the other 20% in South Lebanon.
  • The average level of rainfall feeding the basin is 700 mm/year, or about 764 million m3 distributed as follows: 543 million m3 feeding the Qaraoun dam and 221 million m3 feeding the rest of the dams.
  • The quantity of water discharged from the basin is equivalent to 24% of the net rainfall received by the entire Lebanese territories; this quantity represents more than 40% of the total amount of running water in the internal rivers.

The Litani River

Litani River: Source

  • The Litani River flows from several sources called Al-Oleik sources, located 10 km west of Baalbek, at an altitude of 1000 meters. The Litani River crosses the Bekaa Valley from North to South while maintaining a an altitude ranging between 800 to 1000 meters.
  • The quantity of water discharged from the river increases gradually as the number of tributaries joining it increases.

Litani River: From River Source to River Mouth

Litani River: Main Tributaries

The Litani River has 16 tributaries, Including:

On the right riverbank in Bekaa:

  • Berdawni River, Chtoura River, Qib Elias River, Saadnayel spring, Amik spring, Khrayzat spring, Machgara spring.

On the left riverbank in Bekaa:

  • Yahfoufa River (which feeds the Riyak Valley), Ghzayel River which is the most important because it includes Ras al-Ain spring (Terbol), Faour spring, Ain el-Baida, Faregh River, Chamsine spring and Anjar spring.

All these tributaries flow within a distance of 10 km into the Litani River.

  • In southernmost part of the Bekaa Valley, the Litani River receives the water of Ain Zarqa and Ghalleh springs.
  • As it exits Bekaa and enters the lower part of its course, the Litani River falls, within a distance of 100 km, from an altitude of 800 meters above sea level. This slope is the steepest at the altitude of 500 meters and within a distance of no mere than 40 km.
  • In this lower part, the Litani River receives the water of Zraykoun River and Wadi Saluki River.
  • The River’s course deviates westward at Al-Khardali bridge, near Beaufort Castle (Qalaat al-Chakif) towards Deir Mimas at an altitude of 235 meters where it is called “Qasimiya River” which flows into the Mediterranean Sea at a distance of 8 km to the North of Tyre city.

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