Groundwater Quality in the Upper Litani River Basin

Chapter
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 85)

Abstract

Groundwater in the Upper Litani River Basin (ULRB) has in recent years become highly vulnerable to contamination, thus impacting socioeconomic development and community resilience in the basin. Drivers—such as anthropogenic pressures, high infiltration of karstic aquifer features, and climatic changes—are the causes of extensive stress on this important resource. Although unsustainable agricultural practices still have the most widespread impact on groundwater quality, wastewater and solid waste (SW) disposal from urbanized agglomerations and industrial enterprises have increasingly become serious sources of pollution. In the absence of comprehensive long-term monitoring programs, the findings of several projects and studies have recorded high nitrate, total dissolved solids, and fecal coliform levels exceeding standard limits for drinking water and irrigation purposes in different zones across the basin. Although the concentrations of some heavy metals may be still too low to generate acute adverse health impacts, their effects may become serious in the near future given the sudden increase in population due the surge of Syrian refugees into the basin and the changing climatic conditions. Specifically, the nitrate level, which exceeds the suitability limits for irrigation, currently stands as a major concern and may cause economic and productivity losses, especially with low levels of farmer extension services and poor agricultural practices. Supported by international-development programs, noteworthy national efforts have been initiated to enhance basin management. However, political conflicts, unclear institutional responsibilities, and economic challenges may impede effective implementation. This review calls for a long-term monitoring of groundwater quality and addresses the need to consider groundwater quality as an integral component for the management of water resources of the basin.

Keywords

Groundwater Water table Contamination Runoff Watershed 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of SciencesLebanese UniversityBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Research Center for Environment and DevelopmentBeirut Arab UniversityBekaaLebanon

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