National Authority
for the Litani River
National Authority for the Litani River

Taking preventive and security measures in the vicinity of the Qaraoun Dam

Wednesday 19 August 2020

The Qaraoun Dam is the largest dam in Lebanon, as it supplies water to hydroelectric power plants, in addition to many irrigation projects for the past 58 years. Thus, the Qaraoun Dam is one of the national strategic installations in Lebanon and one of the most important dams in the Arab region, as its water reserve amounts to 220 million cubic meters, its height is 62 meters, and its summit is 1100 meters long. It is a rubble dam with a concrete facade with an area of 50,000 square meters. It is of utmost economic importance as it is the source of water for the following projects:
Four hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 195 megawatts, along with all water intake facilities, including tunnels and pipelines with a length of 31 km and a diameter of 3 meters.
Three irrigation projects in the south and the Bekaa: an area of 2,000 hectares in the Bekaa Valley and 4,500 hectares in the south.
Canal 800 irrigation project: It is under implementation and will irrigate 13,000 hectares and will feed more than 100 towns and villages with drinking water.
And that any sabotage encroachment on this dam will threaten the stability of this dam and will constitute a direct threat to public safety because of the huge quantities of water behind it. Up to the estuary at Al-Qasimia near the city of Tyre.
Circulating executive mechanisms for dam emergency plans:
It is expected that this dam will continue to perform this function for a very long time due to the proper operation and maintenance of its facilities by the National Authority of the Litani River (periodic topographical survey to monitor the movements of the dam body, daily measurement of the quantities of water leaking from the breaks of the dam body, daily measurement of the water level in the underground wells Investigations in the vicinity of the dam, annual maintenance of the dam’s body, annual maintenance of the unloading sash, inspection of the dam’s body and its separators by means of a ROV device (Remote Operated Vehicle) to detect smuggling areas, which is provided to the Authority as a gift from USAID under the LRBMS project.
Recent seismic safety analyzes conducted by the Litani River National Interest Support Project (LRBMS) in 2012 by USAID, have proven that the dam is in good technical condition and will safely withstand a major earthquake without any significant impacts on the dam's structure. However, due to any change that may occur to the dam’s body from the inside, or an earthquake with a higher capacity than the dam’s carrying capacity, precaution is required through the creation of an action plan in which the National Authority of the Litani River, the Civil Defence, the Red Cross, the Lebanese Army, the Disaster Management Authority in Lebanon and society participate. Municipalities such as municipalities and residents of the lower basin of the Qaraoun Dam, as well as taking public safety measures by all the aforementioned stakeholders in anticipation of any failure, which may occur partially or completely for the dam.
Everyone agrees that the announcement of the aforementioned emergency plan may cause some fear among the residents below the dam. However, experience has shown many times that ignoring the possibility of disasters, because they are excluded, increases their effects and negative consequences, while raising awareness and taking some simple measures may prevent loss of life and mitigate significant material damage.
The present emergency plan was accompanied by technical, administrative and security preventive measures taken and/or requested by the National Authority of the Litani River, given the strategic importance of this dam, as it constitutes a potential target for sabotage or aggressive acts that threaten the safety of the residents living in the area of the dam’s valley, as any crack in the dam will cause A devastating water wave that affects all residential areas close to the riverbed, starting from the Watti Al-Sad area in Mashghara, Suhmur, and Yahmor, all the way to the downstream area in Al-Qasimia, in addition to the national loss of production for the projects mentioned above, and the tunnels between the Abdel-Al plant in the western Bekaa and Birket Anan Jezzine is a permanent target for military actions or sabotage attacks, especially since sabotaging the dam may lead to repercussions in the area of ​​action of the international emergency forces according to Security Council Resolution No. 1701 and the area of ​​the defense strategy.
The National Authority of the Litani River has requested written letters to each of His Excellency the Minister of Interior, His Excellency the Minister of Defense, His Excellency the Secretary General of the Supreme Defense Council, His Excellency the Army Commander, His Excellency the Director General of State Security, requesting attention to this issue and assigning the concerned security agencies in the immediate manner to secure protection for these facilities with The matter was presented to the Central Security Council and the Supreme Council of Defense as quickly as possible to take these data into consideration. The Authority also repeated its request to approve the establishment of security protection centers for the facilities of the National Authority of the Litani River, in addition to patrols, inquiries and investigations, especially in the Qaraoun Dam and its tunnel entrances and hydroelectric power generation plants. This is to avoid any security breach that threatens payment and public safety, noting that the Authority is ready to secure all logistical requirements for the guard teams.
In accordance with the decision of the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Defense and the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces, a fixed protection point was installed on the eastern side of the Qaraoun Dam, and the Authority installed a fixed guard point on the western side of the dam, in addition to installing cement cubes at the entrances to facilities and tunnels, and installing iron gates at various sites It is implementing a monitoring project using advanced cameras and alarms to avoid any encroachment on the dam's facilities.
However, the Qaraoun Dam still needs protection and security care by the armed forces, as the National Authority of the Litani River has confirmed that this current guard is a formality, and in turn it has taken the necessary and administrative measures through:
First: Circular to users regarding the protection of facilities and strictness in this (Circular No. 3959 dated 11/8/2020), in which it was stated: In light of the difficult circumstances that the country is going through and in the interest of the safety of facilities and in order to preserve public safety and in light of the reluctance of the security authorities to provide protection to plug the