Print this Page

General Plan

Hydroelectric Exploitation: General Plan

Definition of Hydroelectric Power

  • The hydroelectric power is a renewable source that depends on the natural cycle of the water which includes evaporation, condensation in the air, precipitation, and finally the flow of water by the force of gravity.
  • The main utilities of a hydroelectric facility are the following: a dam, a power room containing the mechanical and electrical equipment and the water streams.
  • The water coming from the lake or the river is controlled through the dam; the water is then discharged to launch the turbines which turn on the electric generators.

The Hydroelectric Project of the Litani River

  • The Litani River Authority implemented the hydroelectric plan in the period between 1955 and 1968, the year when it was fully completed.
  • The construction of the Qaraoun dam, with a storage capacity of 220 million m3, included a series of tunnels, basins and facilities, in addition to three power stations in Markaba, Awali and Joon with a power of 190 MW (10% of total power supply in Lebanon). Such facilities were operated and still have on average an annual production capacity of 700 million kilowatts/hour; the general production of 2003 exceeded 1 billion kilowatt/hour.

Water Balance and Storage Operations

  • The production of hydroelectric power in the Litani stations depends on the amount of annual rainfall in the river basin behind the dam; the water year starts in September and ends in May of each year; during this period the water is stored in the Qaraoun dam.
  • This period is also considered to be the annual period for the maintenance of the station, during which some production units are shut down to reduce the consumption of water stored in the Qaraoun dam thus allowing a greater storage of the water flowing into the dam in winter.
  • In summer, the Litani power stations operate at full capacity thanks to the water stored in the dam, taking into account that it is mandatory to maintain the water reserve in the lake behind the dam at around 70 million m3. This reserve shall remain behind the dam until the end of every year in order to use it in case of no rain or a dry season; there are years of abundant precipitations during which the discharged amount of water in the Litani river at the Qaraoun Lake exceeds the capacity of the power stations (around 600 million m3 in 2002 – 2003), while in dry years this amount would not exceed the 60 million m3 (like the case in the years 2000 – 2002).
  • Since the Markaba power station (Abdul Aal) became operative, the power production in Litani increased from 21 million Kilowatts/hour in 1962 to 1029 million kilowatts/ hour in 2003, which was a year of abundant precipitations.

Hydroelectric Facilities of the Litani River

The hydroelectric facilities include:


Qaraoun Dam and Lake
Stations and Tunnels
Power Transmission Systems

Permanent link to this article: