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“To look back at the history of the Mediterranean is to observe a symbiosis of man and nature that may be about to end.� David Abulafia, The Great Sea, A Human History of the Mediterranean (2011)

The Gaza City port is still under siege by Israel: Palestinian fishermen cannot go out more than 10 km without being stopped by the patrolling Israeli Navy. Source: Revolve Media

Contents Made for the Mediterranean | 04 Special Guest Editorial by Teresa Ribeiro, Deputy Secretary General for Energy at the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Water Competition in Morocco | 06 Marcello Cappellazzi looks at how traditional farming and modern agricultural operations are demanding increasing amounts of water.

Adapting to Climate Change | 12 Murray Biedler points out the encroaching effects of increasing water scarcity and droughts in the Mediterranean region.

Istanbul: City of Water | 20 CooRdinaToR Stuart Reigeluth

On the shores of the mighty Bosphorus Straight, connecting the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea, Istanbul revolves around water.

ConTRiBuToRs Murray Biedler Marcello Cappellazzi Peter Easton Ciaran O Cuinn Teresa Ribeiro Rosa Sjerps Kees van Leeuwen PHoToGRaPHERs Miguel Alvarez Jean-Marc Astesana Peter Easton Xavier Duran George Haddad Mohamed Messara Stephanie Ilner Johann Jaritz Joseph Renalias Dana Smillie Esme Vos LW Yang GRaPHiC dEsiGnER Stephanie Ilner Filipa Rosa

A Harmonized Approach | 30 The European Investment Bank launches a new technical advisory initiative to foster energy-water interdependency in the region.

Lebanon’s Industrial Pollution | 34 Water management and wastewater treatment are a serious challenge for the sustainability of new food and beverage industries.

On Implementing Desalination | 40 An exclusive interview with the Director of MEDRC about the great potential of desalination technologies for this water-scarce region.

VIEWS | 23 Plus a 20-page pull-out photo essay on water & energy around the Mediterranean and beyond!


Made for the Mediterranean Source: UfM

Special Guest Editorial

Teresa Ribeiro Deputy Secretary General for Energy Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean

“Worldwide, an estimated 768 million people remain without access to an improved source of water” – the 2014 UN World Water Development Report says – and “more than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity.” Within the perspective of safeguarding peace and stability – the basic premise of all international and regional organizations including the Union for the Mediterranean – one of the key challenges is to ensure access to water, sanitation and energy services for all people. The need to extend those services to the unserved is an imperative, especially in the context of the growing and inter-related demands for both water and energy.


Although the 2008 Paris Declaration that established the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) does not explicitly reference the water-energy nexus, the Heads of State and Governments of the 43 Member States clearly emphasized that the Secretariat should promote projects and initiatives advancing the topics of energy and water, and also environment and climate change, as common challenges to be addressed in the Mediterranean region. Almost all manner of energy production requires water in their processes that affects the availability of water flows required

by aquatic life or the quality of the used water, which in turn requires energy for producing safe water to reduce pollution and for possible re-use that decreases water demand pressures on existing ecosystems. Conversely, almost all manner of water production and supply to farmers, industries or households requires energy in the respective processes. Global concern for carbon emissions and water scarcity should direct all stakeholders to promote efficiency in energy utilization, and promote the rationalization and optimization of water usage. With the linkage of these two fundamental inputs to

food security, the global pressure on water resources will continue to increase with its corresponding load on energy production creating an incremental interdependency. The planning and decision-making challenges are enormous on whether governments and other stakeholders use available land for increasing irrigated agriculture for growing populations, or devote that same area for space demanding solar panel fields, or perhaps allocate this valuable land for a desalination facility, or wastewater treatment facility that can expand available water resources. Whereas population growth and urban expansion are expected to intensify in the Mediterranean, the challenges of access to water, sanitation and energy production require that the region focus its efforts on advancing comprehensive approaches and targeted solutions. As energy demand increases with water scarcity, the Mediterranean region is likely to face consequences on human development which in turn can translate into political instability and decreased human security in the region.

Revolve’s Special Report: Water & Energy Around the Mediterranean highlights this cross-cutting relationship for the region which is also the broader theme of both UN World Water Day and World Water Week in 2014. Previous editorial contributions to Revolve include “Introducing Thirsty Energy” presenting a new initiative from the World Bank focusing on the energy sector’s demand for water, and in this report “A Harmonized Approach to Water and Energy in the Mediterranean” (pages 30-33) from the European Investment Bank reflecting three approaches for advancing opportunities on this interdependence. The UfM Secretariat is working closely with both of these institutions, as well as the Islamic Development Bank and the United Nations, on applying a holistic energy and water approach within the UfM labeled Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip project in which consultants financed by the European Commission are studying the optimization of renewable and conventional energy source options to ensure sustainable power supply for a large-scale desalination facility in the Gaza Strip.

Current electricity needs for water production

More broadly, the Secretariat serves as a regional platform to encourage the development of strategies and actions that give focus to the waterenergy nexus. The Energy Division of the UfM Secretariat facilitates meetings of the Extended Technical Committee, an inclusive platform of exchange and interaction for Member States and stakeholders working on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which carries out activities namely on energy efficiency in agriculture, energy for sanitation, desalination and water treatment, among others. In October 2014, the UfM organized the 1 Meeting of the Climate Change Expert Group – created by the Declaration of the UfM Ministerial on Environment and Climate Change in Athens, Greece, on 13 May 2014 – presenting a complimentary regional platform for Member States to consider interventions in water and energy along with other climate change related issues so as to contribute in providing the region with the means to build its specific models of sustainability. The UfM Secretariat aspires that the UfM Climate Change Expert Group should also serve to identify demonstrative projects that advance water and energy efficiency in the Mediterranean.

and provision represent 5% for the northern Mediterranean and 10% for the southern and eastern shores with regard to the total demand for electricity; by 2025, it is expected to reach 20% in the southern and eastern countries. EDITORIAL | 5

Berber village in Ourika valley, High Atlas, Morocco. Source: Jean-Marc Astesana / Wikimedia Commons

Water Agriculture and socio-economic standards are becoming increasingly intertwined in Morocco. Confronted with drastic climate change, traditional small-scale farms and modern agricultural operations are defined by local demand and international policies. Tensions are rising for access to water which remains more than ever a key component to economic development.

Competition in Morocco Writer: Marcello Cappellazzi is researcher at Revolve.

Climate change is adversely affecting the southern Mediterranean region. Decreased rainfalls, prolonged droughts and reduced agricultural production are a few of the regional problems stemming from global warming. The direct impact of such crises strongly affects countries that are heavily dependent on agricultural production or that comprise a large rural population. Morocco is an example of a Mediterranean country with such characteristics. One third of the population lives off agriculture, contributing to 17% of the GDP, according to the Bank Al-Maghrib. A decrease in agricultural production is easily translated into weaker

economic growth for the country as a whole and will pose a new set of threats to Moroccan farmers in the coming years. Once among the countries with a water surplus, Morocco is now facing greater challenges to increase the share of water resources available per capita that, over the past 50 years, have decreased from 3,000 cubic meters per person a year to less than 1,000 cubic meters in 2000. Requiring an average of 20 billion cubic meters of water, agriculture constitutes an important stress factor for scarce water resources and is becoming increasingly vulnerable to rainfall distribution variability in Morocco.


Water Management in Morocco Farming systems in Morocco can be divided between modern agricultural enterprises and traditional small farms; a sharp division which also determines the sources of water available to farmers. While small-scale traditional farmers are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, commercial farms operate in irrigated areas. Traditional farms working on less than 5 hectares of land comprise 70% of the total Moroccan farming systems and are the most vulnerable to climate change. Commercial farms, however, benefit from a more stable source of water and are responsible for the depletion of non-renewable water sources and for exponential soil erosion.

Soil erosion and increased salinity emerged early in Morocco along with the introduction of tillage and irrigation practices, now emphasized by climate change. The constant exposure to water and wind erosion leads to a loss in soil fertility of arable lands. Moreover, agricultural lands are threatened by the increase in salinity of water resources due to over-exploitation of water tables and industrial or urban pollution. More than 2 million hectares of agricultural lands are water eroded, especially in the northern and north-western basins. Desertification and sand movements also threaten agricultural lands, houses, canals and roads in the eastern and southern regions. Considering the problem of scarcity and depletion of water resources, it is important to stress the feature of water distribution in Morocco. Dams

Northern Morocco. Source: Marcello Cappellazzi


collect most of the surface water available, accounting for almost 90% of the resources that are economically accessible. Underground water resources constitute the most important source for increasing the capacity of Moroccan water infrastructure without over-exploiting surface water reservoirs. However, urban expansion and reduced rainfalls are increasing the competition for accessing underground water tables. The 1.46 million hectares under perennial irrigation are threatened by population growth and climate change. Since 1970, average rainfalls decreased by 30%, leading to a steep reduction in water available for agriculture and irrigation. Nonetheless, irrigated land contributed to 75% of the total agricultural exports in 2010 and provided jobs for 50% of the total rural labor force. Still,

the sustainability of this type of production is questionable, both due to the increasing water needs of Morocco’s population as well as the inefficiencies and water losses in dams and irrigation systems. This is especially true in the Oum Er-Rbia basin that provides water to 322,700 hectares of irrigated agricultural land in Morocco. This region produces 60% sugar beet, 40% olives and 40% milk of the total Moroccan production. However, only 60% of the water available in the system is effectively used for irrigation purposes, meaning that losses are as high as 40%. The Moroccan government has tried to tackle this problem by improving irrigation techniques available to farmers and by developing a stronger institutional structure to monitor the efficiency of water collection and distribution systems in the region.

The Green Morocco Plan Moroccan farmers need to increase their resilience to climate change threats while integrating their products in the global market where foreign competitors produce more efficiently in less risky environments. For this reason, the Moroccan government has sought to revive the agricultural sector through investments in technical infrastructure and financial assistance. In 2008 the government adopted the “Plan Maroc Vert” (Green Morocco Plan) as a strategy based on four main objectives: increase agricultural revenues, achieve food security for 30 million Moroccans, protect the natural resources and integrate in the international market. Moroccan government support is divided between the modern commercial agricultural enterprises and the

traditional small-scale farmers, further strengthening the internal divide in the Moroccan agricultural sector. The plan aims at boosting the agricultural economy through the sustainable development of farmers’ working conditions, subsidies for irrigation, intensification of livestock operations and establishment of storage and marketing units. However, this approach does not provide a long-term viable solution to the problems that currently affect agriculture in some vulnerable regions and threaten small-scale farmers. Measures targeting this segment of the rural population mostly aim at reconverting or diversifying agricultural activities towards higher value added crops, especially the ones less susceptible to rainfall variability. Land property fragmentation and threats of soil erosion are poorly addressed by this policy that also overlooks the overall effect of

Photovoltaic micro-plants by Isofoton, Morocco. Source: Wikimedia Commons

intensification of agricultural production on the environment. The Plan Vert Maroc aims to invest 15 billion Moroccan dirhams (1.4 billiions euros) by 2020 and is open to international donors’ contributions. The World Bank has committed to supporting the Plan since its inception in 2008 and has stressed the importance of developing a liberalized and diversified agricultural sector to boost productivity and reduce rural poverty. Water management is identified as a key issue for securing higher incomes for small farmers to achieve higher revenues.


Numerous international donors, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Belgian Technical Cooperation, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), are cooperating to support complementary measures to the Plan Maroc Vert. The Plan promotes agricultural intensification, often not compatible with environmental preservation and resilience to climate shocks. For this reason, international donors have implemented land and biodiversity conservation measures in marginal areas, as well as institutional adjustments to support irrigation reforms. By doing so, it has been possible to tackle

some of the environmental threats that affect the Moroccan agricultural sector, while reducing the impacts of climate change.

Agriculture in Morocco in 2020 Citrus


1. Gharb: 1.38 million tons on 39,300 hectares 2. Souss-Massa-Draa: 864,000 tons on 34,000 hectares 3. l’Oriental: 528,000 tons on 19,400 hectares 4. Tadla-Azilal: 424,000 tons on 16,200 hectares

1. Gharb: 3,16 millions tons on 47,000 hectares 2. Doukkala-Abda: 1,5 million tons on 20,000 hectares 3. Tadla-Azilal: 1 million tons on 17,500 hectares



1. Chaouia-Ouardigha, Taza-Al Hoceima and Doukkala-Abda: 1 million tons each 2. Meknès-Tafilalet: 911,000 tons 3. Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz: 860,000 tons 4. Gharb: 790,000 tons

1. Gharb: 1,1 million tons 2. Tadla-Azilal: 750,000 tons 3. Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz: 738,000 tons

Vegetables farming

White meats

1. Souss-Massa-Drâa: 2,14 millions tons on 25,500 hectares 2. Fès-Boulmane: 1,6 million tons on 20,000 hectares 3. Doukkala-Abda: 1,1 million tons on 23,200 hectares

1. Chaouia-Ouardigha: 196,000 tons 2. Fès-Boulmane: 113,000 tons 3. Meknès-Tafilalet: 107,000 tons

olives 1. Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz: 861,000 tons on 172,000 hectares 2. Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate: 660,000 tons on 318,500 hectares 3. Fès-Boulmane: 540,000 tons on 120,000 hectares 4. Meknès-Tafilalet: 413,000 tons on 86,400 hectares

Red meats 1. Tadla-Azilal: 90,000 tons 2. Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz: 64,000 tons 3. Meknès-Tafilalet, Chaouia-Ouardigha and Doukkala-Abda: 60,000 tons each

Source: www.lavieeco.com

BeWater aims to improve public awareness of the importance of sustainable water management, develop innovative processes of mutual learning, and create more social responsibility in this area. These three factors will be key to defining and implementing successful adaptation strategies and policies. www.bewaterproject.eu

River Basin, Spain. Source: CREAF 12Tordera | BIOFUELS

Adapting to Climate Change in

River Basins Writer: Murray Biedler is BeWater Policy Watch Coordinator

Climate change projections point to increasing water scarcity and drought in the Mediterranean region, which will cause serious socioeconomic loss and have significant environmental impacts.

The FP7-funded BeWater project is contributing to a new EU policy review on climate change. BeWater is a European project which aims to promote dialogue and collaboration between science and society in sustainable water management in the Mediterranean. Led by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), project partners will organize participatory processes involving scien-

tists and other stakeholders in four pilot river basins throughout the Mediterranean (Catalonia, Cyprus, Slovenia and Tunisia). Each will identify and share the challenges of climate change in their region and the various water management options available. Based on shared information, all stakeholders will design joint plans for adaptation management of river basins in the face of climate change in their regions.


slovenia - Vipava river basin area: 598 km2 inhabitants: 52,000 Main Land uses: forest (61%), agriculture (33%) Key issues: limited resources and increasing tensions Main Challenges: managing water at river basin scale In Vipava, stakeholder involvement in the planning of water management is of great importance for successful problem solving. Promoting the participation of the population in the area of the river basin and local, regional and national institutions is one of the main goals. Vipava River Basin, Slovenia. Source: IZVRS

spain - Tordera river basin area: 865 km2 inhabitants: 157,500 Main Land uses: forest (81%), agriculture (10%) Key issues: flooding, agricultural, groundwater use, water quality Main Challenges: droughts, floods and forest fires For Tordera, it is crucial to gradually build a common perspective to face the important trade-offs between water uses. Stakeholders perceive the role of the river basin’s rich environment as a key factor to increase social resilience to climate change. Tordera river, Spain. Source: Xavigivax

Tunisia - Rmel river basin area: 740 km2 inhabitants: 40,000 Main Land uses: forest (42%), agriculture (31%), urban (27%) Key issues: high pressure on water resources by multiple users Main Challenges: Droughts, and water scarcity

Rmel River Basin, Tunisia. Source: INRGREF


Water management in Tunisia needs community involvement in order to break-up top-down rules. BeWater stakeholders prioritize aspects related to water taxes, prices and equity in sharing this vital resource, as well as institutional governance improvement.

Cyprus - Pedieos river basin area: 125 km2 inhabitants: 150,000 Main Land uses: forest (23%), agriculture (65%) Key issues: high pressure on rivers by agriculture, industry, settlements and river regulation Main Challenges: droughts, floods and river restoration

Pedieos River Basin, Cyprus. Source: Cyl

With climate change looming, getting water management right is becoming even more important for Cyprus. BeWater stakeholders in this region aim for a more equitable allocation of water between different users and better implementation of environmental legislation.

BeWater selected four river basin case studies that represent various conditions related to climate, topography, environment, plus the socio-economic-political conditions, as well as land use and water demands around the Mediterranean.

The policy review constitutes a policy background for the BeWater project for the four respective Mediterranean river basins – one of which is in Tunisia, North Africa. This article focuses on the EU policy review, which is more detailed, and presents a contribution to the ongoing European dialogue on climate change adaptation with an initial focus on the water policy sector while incorporating the energy, agriculture and the environment policy sectors. The treatment of policy sectors individually, especially for broad issues such as climate, does not reflect the reality and is becoming increasingly irrelevant to understanding the impacts of the complexity of climate change. This underlines the need for a more clear understanding of the interlinkages, overlaps and inconsistencies between sector policies when, and if, they address the issue of climate change.

Climate Change across Policy Sectors This article looks at two main sectors where conflict potentially arises in terms of resource management: water and energy (the policy review also includes the agriculture and environment policy sectors). Concerning the Energy Sector, one study imple-


mented by the energy business sector shows that while the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to create good conditions for water bodies, the strict standards it requires will seriously hinder the use and expansion of hydropower. As the power industry endures general technical and financial burdens, the new environmental requirements will be too costly to fully implement, especially for smaller businesses. According to the study, achieving such a good level of water quality is of secondary importance compared to the importance of power generation and any further tightening of the WFD standards should be avoided, since the objective of clear water resources would require a tremendous financial investment. In an analysis of the WFD and renewable energy, author J. Abazaj elaborates on the pressure the WFD puts on the hydrological sector and the inconsistencies which arise between the Water Framework Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive in the hydropower sector, the impact of these inconsistencies, and the possibility of reconciliation between the two directives. For the Renewable Energy Directive, hydropower facilities represent an important instrument for achieving the main objective: the production of renewable energy. In this perspective, the construction of new facilities and the refurbishment of old sites is incentivized and promoted.

On the other hand, hydropower facilities represent environmental pressures on the biological, hydro-morphological, chemical and physical quality elements of the water resource. From the WFD perspective, the construction of new facilities should be fully compliant with strict measures in order not to cause deterioration of the ecological status of water bodies. This makes the required investment for the construction of new (or the renovation of existing) facilities very high. We therefore arrive at two conflicting objectives arising from European Directive provisions that will either have an impact on hydropower generation or on water resources quality. The lack of coordination in the provisions is already the basis of conflictive discussion (where they occur between the sectors) or, at minimum, opposing viewpoints, and will continue to generate uncertainties if not addressed in the future by an overarching climate change policy. This illustrates the necessity for cross-sector consultative discussions for a coherent and ultimately for a mutually-acceptable policy response to climate change in the European Union. During public consultations of the Fitness Check of the Water Framework Directive held during 20112012 the observation was made that a divergence of objectives exists between the Directive on Renewable Energy Sources and EU

water policy, due to the pressure to add new hydropower capacity and to intensify biomass production.

The Water Sector

The Energy Sector

One perspective on the linkages between sectors is the Nexus approach, which is seen by its proponents as a natural progression for improving understanding of the interdependencies between sectors, and to developing a joint perspective of understanding the common challenges in EU sector policies. With the Nexus perspective, expanding the policy scope makes for more informed decision-making, better adaptation to environmental change, increased resilience and more responsive legislation. The Nexus approach has been compared to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and suggests that IWRM embraces other sectors in its management philosophy, while the Nexus approach addresses multiple sectors equally from a policy perspective.

Of the eight core policies reviewed from the EU Water Policy Sector, four out of the eight address climate change clearly as an issue and a future challenge. These include the Marine Directive, the Floods Directive, the Water Scarcity and Drought Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The latter two have recently come under review with the EU Fitness Check on water policy. The Bathing Water Directive mentions climate change but does not appear to acknowledge that climate change will likely require adaptation of this Directive to maintain its present quality status of implementation. The Drinking Water Directive, the Groundwater Directive and the Urban Waste-Water Directive do not address climate change.

Of the 15 energy sector policy instruments reviewed, 10 address climate change to some degree, with three of the 10 doing so very clearly. These are the Energy 2020 and the Energy Efficiency for 2020 instruments, and the Renewable Energy Directive. Most of these instruments tend to focus on reducing greenhouse gases and how they can reduce the impacts of energy consumption on the climate and environment. Policy tools that address oil, natural gas and nuclear energy do not address climate change. There is very little discussion on how climate change may affect the production of energy, for example for knock-on impacts of climate change on water resources and hydropower or biofuel production. This suite of policies appears to be largely demand-driven with a limited concept of changing consumption patterns or adaptation.

Tabor bridge across the river Vipava in Vipava, Goriška, Slovenia. Source: Johann Jaritz / Wikimedia Commons

The policy review addressed if, and to what degree, the policies from the different sectors address the issue of climate change and to what degree these policies facilitate public participation. Participation in policy activities has a strong relevance to this policy review since it implies stakeholder action, which in itself is a key to adaptation.

Public Participation Public participation in the EU is guided by the Aarhus Convention, with the aim of improving the management of our water and other natural resources, especially in the face of climate change, and also to avoid the following issues that arise when the public is not involved: - the public is not properly informed about resource management and climate change challenges - the public’s values and concerns are not adequately taken into account in decision-making - due to lack of consultation, innovative solutions are rarely presented and/or employed - distrust grows within the public, and a corresponding lack of willingness to accept the measures imposed becomes ingrained in the public perception


In numerous policies, the EU obliges Member States to involve the public in the implementation process of it policies, but it does not provide guidelines or clear indications on how or to what extent this is expected to be achieved. Thus, interpretation is left to the relevant authorities in the respective Member State, but often these authorities are unfamiliar or inexperienced with the subject. This can lead to authorities promoting only the minimum required by the directives, such as focusing only on dissemination practices, providing information or at most a minor consultation. Involving the public becomes even more challenging with integrated water management on river basins, as called for in the WFD, or in the multisectoral nexus approach since both would involve authorities and stakeholders who have their own very important agendas which essentially overlay the same space. The same is true for the EU’s energy policy sector that is faced with the same challenges and has been criticized for a weak public involvement by the European Commission in the process of achieving Europe’s energy goals for the program “20% renewable energy by 2020” and the social involvement of the EU’s Biofuel Policy.

DemandDriven Response Another issue linked to resources management in the face of climatic challenges is attempts by EU policy sectors (especially energy and agriculture) to achieve security (of supply) while also aiming to meet rising water, food and energy demands. This puts pressure on the Member States and respective multiple industries involved to basically keep pace with demand. With a bias in favor of supply-side measures, this pressure will only increase unless the general public and consumers change consumption patterns and habits. This is a concern, as a growing body of evidence suggests that governments are unlikely to reach climate change targets if they focus solely on supply-side and dismiss demand-side measures. This will require changes in consumption patterns and behaviour. While these demand-type reduction measures alone are not enough to achieve, say, the 20% reduction in emissions aimed for by the EU, they can be of great assistance to achieving this goal. However, achieving or trying to promote social change within a policy framework, but without tools and mechanisms for public participation, is almost impossible.

Conclusion Concerning the European Union, a review of EU policies and various analyses indicate two priorities for the EU in their policy response to climate change. One is for the EU to meet its already proclaimed targets and obligations both at the EU level and at the international level. The other priority is to build a future strategy and supporting legislation for the EU to reduce the impacts of climate change on the security, economic health and well-being of its con-

stituents. The achievement of the targets is easier to conceptualize, but for the latter priority, there is a clear need for a more consolidated approach to be taken across policy sectors, since that is the sectoral nature of where climatic impacts will fall. While it is useful to have a multi-sectoral understanding of the present reality and political context confronting the EU’s climate strategy, the evolving nature of climate regulation and a growing understanding of cli-

mate impacts within different sectors clearly require the generation of more knowledge. Each sector presently witnesses its own regulatory and stakeholder responses to climate challenges and impacts, especially for adaptation. In order to understand better the processes that drive these responses, the promotion, and understanding, of best practices will be most effective if they come first from the individual sectors such as energy and, in the case of the BeWater project, the water sector.

Tordera River, Spain. Source: Joseph Renalias / Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgement The BeWater project, lasting three and a half years, has a total budget of ₏3.5 million and has received funding through the European Union’s 7 Framework Programme under the Science in Society initiative. BeWater involves project partners from 12 institutions from 11 countries, including research centers, businesses, NGOs and European institutions; platforms and organizations with a strong commitment to promoting these processes using innovative methodologies applicable to other regions and contexts.

Basilica water cistern built in the 6th century, Turkey. Source: LW Yang

Istanbul: City of Water Writers: Peter Easton, Rosa Sjerps, Kees van Leeuwen

Peter Easton is an independent water consultant and a Revolve Water expert. Rosa Sjerps is a hydrologist with specialization in water quality and water resources. She is a researcher at KWR Watercyle Institute. Kees van Leeuwen is a Professor of Water Management and Urban Development at University of Utrecht; and Principle Scientist at KWR Watercycle Institute. This article was adapted from their work on 25 City Blueprints: Improving Implementation Capacities of Cities and Regions – an EIP Water Action Group. For more information, visit: www.kwrwater.nl

Sustainability challenge for megacities

with a large and rapidly growing population, combined with climate challenges, there needs to be constant and careful planning for the future.

Istanbul is a clear example of the sustainability challenges facing humanity with more than 50% of the world’s population now living in urban areas, and with many cities rapidly growing. There are over 300 cities in the world with a population greater than 1 million, and 23 megacities with more than 10 million, including Istanbul. Water is just one of many themes cities need to address, but a critical one that integrates a number of sustainability issues.

Source of identity and survival

Istanbul has faced a complex challenge of meeting its water needs throughout its 2700-year history, previously as Byzantium and Constantinople. Recent large engineering projects have ensured sufficient drinking water for some years to come. But

Sitting astride the Bosphorus Strait separating Europe and Asia, water is a key component of the city’s identity. With ships travelling north-south along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and with the city’s population traversing the waters, either by ferry, but mostly via one of the two – soon to be three – bridges (a crossing which can take more than an hour at peak times), water is both an asset and a barrier. Unlike many cities sitting on a great river, the seawater of the Bosphorus is not available to drink, or for most other standard


Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey. Source: Peter Easton

water uses, such as for general household use, industry and agriculture. With a dry Mediterranean climate, the options for water supply are limited. With little groundwater, the city has been dependent on bringing in supplies of fresh surface water from distant streams and lakes. In Roman times, a number of aqueducts were constructed, which eventually deteriorated and fell into disuse. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1400s, new water systems were developed, including renovation of some of the Roman infrastructure. One Roman aqueduct remains a prominent city landmark, the Valens Aqueduct (modern name Bozdogan Kemeri), some 920 meters long in the old Fatih Quarter. The Ottomans also


introduced many storage cisterns, at one time establishing a total of a million cubic meters of storage. A highly impressive example still in existence is the Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”, or Yerebatan Sarnıcı – “Sunken Cistern”), built in the 6th century with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters. Istanbul is now a very large metropolitan city with a population of 14 million, the largest in Europe (ahead of Moscow at 12 million) and with one of the most rapid growth rates at 2.8%. In recent decades, the population has grown at almost twice the overall rate for Turkey, due to urban immigration. Hence, water supply and sanitation have been a particular challenge. The majority of water resources

are on the Asian side, whereas the majority of the population – about two thirds – is on the European side. Modern day reservoirs are linked and operate under an integrated and flexible system, which includes a new water transfer tunnel beneath the Bosphoros. From 2006 to 2008, Istanbul suffered from drought, recording the lowest rainfall in 50 years. Water levels in reservoirs are low now (spring 2014), at only 30% full, thus creating a concern for the summer ahead. Studies show Istanbul has become warmer during the past half century, a trend predicted to continue in combination with a higher frequency of extreme weather events.

In view of the growing demand for water and observed climatic trend, development and adaptation plans have been applied, including water saving campaigns, transfer of water from adjacent basins, and reuse of treated wastewater. Flooding is also an occasional problem with a particularly bad series in 2009.

Modern water management Water supply and sanitation is the responsibility of the public utility Istanbul Su ve Kanalizasyon Idaresi (ISKI – the Istanbul Municipal Waterworks) created in 1981. Istanbul is supplied with 910 million m3/year (97%) of water from surface water reservoirs and 30 million m3/year water from groundwater. Surface water is collected in seven local water reservoirs, on both sides of the Bosphorus (Figure 1), and a newly connected one, at considerable cost, some 180km to the east in the Melen Basin. The water systems consist of dams, reservoirs, water treatment plants and pipelines, the total length of pipes being an impressive 17,000km, more than the diameter of the Earth (13,000km). A new addition is a 5km-long undersea water supply tunnel named the Bosphorus Water Tunnel, constructed in 2012 as the final link to the system bringing water from Melen in the east to

the European side of the city. Good planning and investment in recent years means the city now has sufficient water supply for some years to come.

The majority of water resources are on the Asian side, whereas the majority of the population – about two thirds – is on the European side.

Dangers of uncontrolled development Like many rapidly growing megacities, with large rates of immigration, Istanbul experiences the problem of unauthorized and uncontrolled settlements. Although the reservoirs have conservation zones around them to protect water quality, with restrictions on construction and industrial activity, these are not successfully enforced. Consequently, homes are built, typically without proper sanitation, with the result of pollution finding its way into the reservoirs.

This pollution carries nutrients, which provide ‘food’ to algae resulting in algal blooms (eutrophication), which in turn uses up oxygen, making the water unhealthy and unsuitable for a natural wildlife balance. Water pollution also adds to monitoring and treatment costs.

Figure 1: Location of the reservoirs supplying Istanbul









Valens acqueduct, Istanbul, Turkey. Source: Esme Vos / Flickr


The City Blueprint for Water Sustainability encompasses many factors, but water is an ideal theme for assessing and comparing the sustainability and health of cities. Water is critical to so many aspects of human life, especially in cities. This includes: universal access to safe drinking water; wastewater management; flood risk; water scarcity; biodiversity; the aesthetic and amenity value; water energy nexus, and many more. The City Blueprint concept was developed at the KWR Watercycle Research Institute in the Netherlands, as a baseline assessment of the sustainability of urban water cycle services. The result allows a city to quickly understand how advanced it is in water management and to compare its status with other cities. Istanbul is one of 25 cities to have undertaken the survey.

The survey consists of a review of 24 key indicators for which a score is derived between 0 (poor) and 10 (excellent), with the results plotted in a spider diagram. In addition, an overall BCI (Blue City Index) score is calculated as the arithmetic mean of the 24 indicators. The City Blueprint is intended as a first step on a journey of long-term planning and communication and cooperation within and between cities. A key intention is to encourage cities to share best practices, and for all to improve. The program is carried out in the context of the EU’s European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water. For more information, visit: www.eip-water.eu

Istanbul’s City Blueprint The results of Istanbul’s City Blueprint are presented in Figure 2, in comparison to two other quite different cities, Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania) and Oslo (Norway). Istanbul scores well in the critical areas of

‘sufficient to drink’, drinking water quality, and safe sanitation, but with low scores in other areas, such as surface water and groundwater quality, public participation and nutrient recovery. Overall, the results confirm the conclusions of a number of earlier studies, the key one being that conventional strategies to further increase water supply in line with population growth cannot be met indefinitely, so that greater emphasis needs to be placed on a more effective and efficient management of existing water resources. Water quality will remain a major challenge, due to the expanding, sometimes unauthorized settlement of new land, particularly near water reservoirs. Future strategies for success need to include: cooperation among various social levels and organizations, from national and local governments to the private sector and civil society. Effective measures should include education, regulation and appropriate penalties (with enforcement), incentives to reduce water losses and improved recycling and re-use.

Water quality will remain a major challenge, due to the expanding, sometimes unauthorized settlement of new land, particularly near water reservoirs. 26 | ISTANBUL

Istanbul Water footprint Public participation Water scarcity Management and action plans

Water self-sufficiency


Surface water quality


Groundwater quality

Climate-robust buildings

Sufficient to drink

Adaptation strategies

Water system leakage

Climate commitments

Water efficiency

Infrastructure separation

Drinking water consumption

Average age sewer system

Drinking water quality

Nutrient recovery

Safe sanitation

Energy recovery Sewage sludge recycling Energy efficiency

Dar es Salaam

Oslo Water footprint Public participation Water scarcity

Water footprint Public participation Water scarcity Management and action plans Attractiveness Biodiversity

Water self-sufficiency Surface water quality Groundwater quality

Climate-robust buildings

Sufficient to drink

Adaptation strategies

Water system leakage

Climate commitments

Water efficiency

Infrastructure separation

Drinking water consumption

Average age sewer system Nutrient recovery

Drinking water quality Safe sanitation

Energy recovery Sewage sludge recycling Energy efficiency

Management and action plans Attractiveness Biodiversity

Water self-sufficiency Surface water quality Groundwater quality

Climate-robust buildings

Sufficient to drink

Adaptation strategies

Water system leakage

Climate commitments

Water efficiency

Infrastructure separation

Drinking water consumption

Average age sewer system Nutrient recovery

Drinking water quality Safe sanitation

Energy recovery Sewage sludge recycling Energy efficiency

Figure 2: City Blueprints for Istanbul, Dar es Salaam and Oslo


Making progress Istanbul has made excellent progress in ensuring there is sufficient water supply for the city, including provision of safe drinking water. The biggest challenge remains how to manage wastewater and its impact on the natural water environment, including the Bosphorus. From the City Blueprint survey, only 9% of wastewater was treated in 1993. By 2004, that

had increased to 95%. The new part of the wastewater system is a dual system, which means dirty (‘black’) sewer water runs along separate pipes to storm run-off. In many older cities of Europe, and for the older systems in Istanbul, these were combined, which means rainwater and dirty water use the same pipes. The problem with combined systems is that in heavy storms, the system is overwhelmed by rainwater, and must overflow into surface water bodies, causing contamination incidents, poisoning wildlife and creating a health

Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey. Source: Peter Easton


hazard for bathing waters. Istanbul has done well to develop a dual wastewater system. However, unauthorized sewer connections – often to the ‘wrong’ pipe – means that untreated dirty water still reaches water bodies, including the reservoirs.

Golden Horn clean-up The Golden Horn (Halic or Altın Boynuz in Turkish) is an historic inlet on the European side of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul, and forming the natural harbor that sheltered Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years. It has faced pollution challenges for centuries, and in fact was the subject of one of the world’s first environmental management policies, in the mid-1400s, when Sultan Mehmet restricted settlement, encouraged forestation to combat erosion and banned local agriculture. The Golden Horn water body is 7.5km long, 200–900 meterwide horn-shaped body of water connecting two rivers to the Bosphorus Strait. It lies in the center of the historic city and played a substantial role in Istanbul’s culture for thousands of years, particularly for its numerous harbors, abundant fish populations, and recreation grounds. Thriving fisheries were supported until the latter 20th century, when it inevitably became polluted by 40 years of uncontrolled industrial and urban growth resulting in thick layers of anoxic sediment, toxic bacteria, strong hydrogen sulphide odor, and ecologically unliveable conditions.

Water and air circulation are severely hampered in and around the Golden Horn, which has led to a local environment extremely prone to lasting pollution problems. These causes, together with steep hills, the presence of stone quarries, and the absence of drainage systems, all encourage substantial erosion and estuarine sedimentation. The situation was not helped by the building of a dam on the inflowing River Alibeyköy in 1983, reducing the inflow of fresh water and its diluting effect. Another major source of pollution, Istanbul’s sewer system consisted of drains dating to Roman and Ottoman periods combined with explosive urbanization in the second half of the 20th century and immigration rates. All together, the quality of water, and the quality of life around the Golden Horn was greatly reduced. A new environmental improvement and management plan was needed. Planning commenced in the 1950s, and major efforts commenced in the 1980s. The main components of restoration included: demolition and relocation of industries and homes along the shore; creation of wastewater infrastructure; removal of anoxic sludge from the estuary; removal of a floating bridge that impeded circulation; and

creation of cultural and social facilities. Although Turkey is not known as an environmental leader in pollution control, the sum of these efforts was largely successful in revitalizing the area through dramatic water quality improvement. Consequently, the estuary is once again inhabitable for aquatic life as well as amenable to local resource users and foreign visitors, and Istanbul has regained a lost sense of cultural identity. Cleaning up of the Golden Horn remains an unfinished project, and will require constant vigilant management. But, it is an example that with the right will and commitment, improvements can be achieved in the most challenging situations. Despite progress in the Golden Horn, the waters around Istanbul, in the Boshporus and Mamara Sea to the south, remain heavily polluted, with reports that fish stocks continue to reduce. In rapidly growing cities, there will always be a conflict of priorities between economic and social needs and those of the environment. The principal of Smart Cities as promoted by the European Commission, and represented in the City Blueprint concept, is that these must progress handin-hand to ensure sustainable benefits for all.


Pumping Station EPAL, Castelo de Bode, Portugal. Source: EIB

A harmonized approach to water and energy in the Mediterranean Launching a new technical advisory initiative, the European Investment Bank (EIB) boosts its response to the challenge of energy-water interdependency in the Mediterranean region. Almost all energy generation processes require water, and water requires energy for treatment and transport. The complex interactions between the water and energy sectors mean that a holistic approach must be embraced, something which has long been part of EIB work when assessing projects’ feasibility and sustainability. For countries that border the Mediterranean, careful management of limited water resources is a priority. Water pollution and treatment are also critical common concerns for countries that share this common inland sea. At the same time, the energy sectors of many countries of the region, particularly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, have been characterised by rapidly growing demand, historically subsidised tariffs, inefficient energy use, and an underexploited renewable energy potential.

The EIB has identified three major opportunities presented by water-energy interdependency in the Mediterranean region: (i) to reduce the water dependence of energy supply, particularly through water-efficient cooling processes and renewable energy sources like wind and solar, (ii) to increase the efficiency of water systems in terms of both water and energy use, and (iii) to achieve the synergies that are possible between water and energy production. Taking hold of these opportunities will be an integral component of the recently launched second phase of the Mediterranean Hot Spots Investment Program (MeHSIP-2), which aims to support infrastructure project development. Like its predecessor – the MeHSIP-PPIF (Mediterranean Hot Spots Investment Programme – Project Preparation and Implementation Facility) – this new

technical assistance program will be managed by the EIB and is financed as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 initiative, a very wide-ranging framework program which includes investments for climate action, environment and resource efficiency. Thanks to MeHSIP-PPIF, four pollution-reduction projects representing a total investment of €340 million have achieved readiness for financing and implementation. One of these projects is the de-pollution of Lake Bizerte in Northern Tunisia. Co-financed by a €40 million EIB loan, the project aims to improve the quality of the lake and coastal waters, reduce environmental stress on the Mediterranean, and improve quality of life through extended sanitation networks and better solid waste management. Focused on the eastern and southern Mediterranean,

EIB | 31

The EIB lent around €26 billion for energy projects in countries around the Mediterranean between 2009 and 2013.

EPAL Castelo de Bode Dam, Portugal. Source: EIB

The European investment Bank is the bank of the European union. Owned by the 28 Member States of the EU, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects. As the world’s largest multilateral lender by volume, between 2009 and 2013, the EIB invested €88 billion in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. The EIB supports low-carbon and climate resilient growth in Europe and in developing and emerging countries outside Europe. As a catalyst, mobilizing finance for climate action investments, the Bank complements innovative finance instruments with technical assistance tools. www.eib.org

32 | EIB

MeHSIP-2 will go beyond the depollution of the Mediterranean and include water and waste management aimed at resource efficiency. MeHSIP-2 will involve the preparation of 10 to 20 further projects, from identification to detailed project definition, conceptual design, financial and economic analysis, and social and environmental impact assessments. EIB experts will also be able to provide support in areas that go further than technical project preparation such as dialogue with local stakeholders and analysis of policy aspects affecting project sustainability. The objective is to leverage total investments of up to €1.5 billion. The MeHSIP-2 program is expected to play an important catalytic role in bringing about the joined-up waterenergy approach to infrastructure development in the Mediterranean region. At the same time, it will contribute to the ultimate goals of sustainable growth and job creation in the region.

The EIB: a leading investor in water and energy solutions Over the last five years (2009-2013), the EIB has lent around €26 billion for energy projects in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, both within the EU and outside. As the largest source of loan finance to the global water sector, in the same period, the Bank lent around €13 billion in the water, sanitation and waste sector in the region.

Under the Bank’s energy lending criteria, the EIB finances renewable energy projects, energy efficiency projects and programs, as well as thermal generation from low carbon sources such as efficient natural gas technology. Assessing the water-related demands and impacts of these energy options is becoming ever more important. In the water, waste and sanitation sector, energy considerations have often been treated as marginal. Nevertheless, assessing the energy consumption and efficiency of potential projects in the water, waste and sanitation sector has long been part of the Bank’s due diligence process. The EIB-financed project in Lisbon (Portugal) described below illustrates well how the water-energy nexus can be fully integrated into project design.

Energy and water efficiency in the Greater Lisbon area In the past decade the Great Lisbon area, comprising the city of Lisbon and 33 adjacent municipalities with about 3 million inhabitants, has seen a significant increase in water demand due to a positive demographic trend. In view of the change in the water demand, the public water utility EPAL decided to refocus its attention and investment on the improvement of the energy and water efficiency of its system and reduce the vulnerability

of its facilities to climate change and natural disasters. The EIB supports this effort by financing 50% of the program which has an overall cost of €140 million. The energy efficiency program in particular includes interventions to reduce energy consumption through new more modern equipment, to produce renewable energy through solar panels in EPAL’s facilities and to perform sludge drying through solar panels in the treatment plants. Energy efficiency is expected to have a significant impact on EPAL’s operating costs.

Water Security in Puglia, Italy Due to large-scale irrigation, the south-eastern region of Italy is adversely affected by limited surface water resources and a decrease in groundwater level. The EIB has co-financed 40% of a major operation (€370 million) promoted by Acquedotto Pugliese Group to enhance water management and sustainable practices in the region. Four million people (around 7% of the Italian population) in the Puglia region and 30,000 people in the Campania region will benefit from improved environment and healthier conditions. Overall, the project will target the quality of the water and wastewater services, the use and protection of scarce water resources, as well as the safety, reliability and energy efficiency of plants and networks.

Industrial plant in Lebanon. Source: Ministry of Environment / UNDP

Decreasing Industrial Pollution in Lebanon As a country traditionally dedicated to agriculture and trade, the industrial sector is relatively young in Lebanon.

While higher at 12.5% in 1997 than 7.2% in 2010 of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the industrial sector remains an important pillar of the economy. In 2007, the total number of industrial establishments in Lebanon (those employing more than 5 workers) reached 4,033. (Figure 1) The key industrial sectors are food products and beverages, fabricated metal products and other non-metallic mineral products.

According to the Ministry of Industry census of 2007, most industries are located outside “industrial zones� and are predominantly in residential areas including towns and cities. The existing 71 industrial zones in Lebanon have not been provided with adequate infrastructure for optimal operation, sufficient management of industrial processes and necessary environmental management requirements.


Industrial Wastewater Management The Cost of Environmental Degradation (COED) in Lebanon was estimated at $800 million (equivalent to 3.7% of GDP). The largest contributor is water pollution (1.08% of GDP) followed by air pollution (0.7% of GDP). Industrial activities are considered among the main causes of environmental degradation and constitute a serious threat to Lebanon’s fragile ecosystem. Water pollution is the result mainly of wastewater discharged from municipal and industrial sources estimated between 150163 Mm3 per year, equivalent to about 11% of the total annual water demand (Figure 2). The projected water demand by the industrial sector is expected to reach 16% of the total annual water demand in 2030. Water use and wastewater treatment and reuse in the industrial sector constitute an important aspect of the water resources management in Lebanon and significantly affect their operations and sustainability for the existing and planned wastewater treatment plants. Addressing industrial wastewater management in Lebanon is an important entry point for its abatement and long-term management of


industrial pollution and requires political and technical considerations. By initiating interventions for the management of industrial wastewater management in Lebanon, the Ministry of Environment, works in close coordination with other concerned stakeholders. Water use and wastewater treatment and reuse in the industrial sector constitute an important aspect of the water resources management in Lebanon and significantly affect their operations and sustainability for the existing and planned wastewater treatment plants. Addressing industrial wastewater management in Lebanon is an important entry point for its abatement and long-term management of industrial pollution and requires political and technical considerations. By initiating interventions for the management of industrial wastewater management in Lebanon, the Ministry of Environment, works in close coordination with other concerned stakeholders.

Industrial Wastewater Discharge Lebanon produces approximately 310 Mm3 of wastewater per year: 250 Mm3 is municipal/domestic and around 60 Mm3 is industrial wastewater (Figure 3). Most of the industrial wastewater is discharged with little or no prior treatment, either directly into rivers and streams, or through wastewater networks usually occurring without official permission or control/reporting. When discharged into the public sewer system, industrial effluents with high heavy metal content can corrode networks. They also affect the operation of municipal Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs), where they can inactivate microorganisms. Pollution will reach water bodies or the environment since only 8 WWTPs are operational in Lebanon today at various levels of treatment. (Table 1)

Figure 1: Total number of industrial establishments

4033 2829 1545 82


Before 1950

1950 - 1959

418 1960 - 1969


1970 - 1979

1980 - 1989

1990 - 1999

2000 - 2007

Figure 2: Estimates of current water demand (Mm3/year)

1800 1600

Comair, 2010

World Bank, 2009

MOEW, 2010

1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Domestic



Total Demand

Figure 3: Quantities of municipal and industrial wastewater in Lebanon (Mm3)

300 250

Wastewater (Mm 3)

200 150 100 50 0 Municipal/Domestic Wastewater

Industrial Wastewater

Table 1: List of municipal WWTPs and their status in Lebanon Location

Beirut and Mount Lebanon

Total Number


Status Planned

Under construction

Constructed but not operational





1 (Ghadir) 6 (Aitanit, Baalbeck, Fourzol, Jib Jannine, Saghbine, Iaat)






North Lebanon






South Lebanon





1 (Saida)

Based on internal communication with MoE and CDR, August 2013


Wastewater Treatment Challenges

Mitigating Industrial Pollution

Depending on the level of treatment, wastewater can be reused thus decreasing water consumption and reducing negative environmental impacts. However, this treatment process is still hampered by the lack of expertise, technical assistance and capital investment. While wastewater treatment can be expensive, it is affordable and represents a small fraction of the total investment cost for existing or new establishments. Industries must identify opportunities for cleaner production which can offset the cost of introducing and operating wastewater treatment systems. It is therefore essential to ensure that the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations are connected to the provision of technical assistance as well as financial incentives for industries to invest in cleaner production and wastewater treatment systems.

The government of Lebanon has demonstrated a strong commitment to tackle industrial pollution and encourage green investments through a combination of regulations and incentives that were recently introduced by the Ministry of Environment. Improvements to the environmental legal framework include four key decrees passed in 2012:

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environmental impact assessment (EIA) (Decree 8633-2012) developed with the assistance of the World Bank and Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program (METAP) strategic environmental assessment (SEA) (Decree 8213-2012) establishment of the National Council for the Environment (Decree 8157-2012) establishment of the Environmental Compliance Certification System (Decree 8471-2012)

In addition to the improvements at the legal and regulatory level, an important process for strategic planning is underway by the Ministry of Environment and other concerned national stakeholders in support of industrial pollution abatement. This includes the following key strategies and plans:

In 2011, the Ministry of Environment prepared with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a business plan for reducing pollution of the Qaroun Lake along the Litani River. Regarding industrial wastewater, the Ministry of Energy and Water formally launched a National Wastewater Strategy in December 2012, requiring by 2020 all industries to pre-treat wastewater prior to discharge into the municipal network. In partnership with German Development Agency (GIZ), the Lebanese Ministry of Environment prepared in 2013 a “Policy Paper and Action Plan for Industrial Wastewater Management in Lebanon� (MoE/CDR/GIZ, 2013), which provides a set of recommendations towards achieving industrial compliance for wastewater discharge.

International Partner Support The Ministry of Environment has initiated the implementation of several programs related to industrial pollution abatement ensuring the optimization of the ongoing momentum of environmental management in Lebanon and creating a solid basis for a sustainable continuation of these efforts with the following key programs:

Environmental Fund for Lebanon (EFL): in support of green investments in Lebanon, GIZ in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and the Council for Development and Reconstruction has provided a grant of â‚Ź8.5 million for the establishment and operation of the Environmental Fund for Lebanon (EFL). Between 2010 and 2013, GIZ and EFL supported innovative interventions for private and public sector enterprises to improve their economic and environmental performances. Lebanon Environmental Pollution Abatement Program (LEPAP): in collaboration with the Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL), the World Bank and the Italian Cooperation Agency, MoE initiated in January 2014 an environmental com-

pliance mechanism for industrial enterprises through the Lebanon Environmental Pollution Abatement Program (LEPAP). LEPAP supports the financing of industrial pollution abatement interventions, through offering concessional loans with interest rates close to 0% by commercial banks to industries. It also provides free assistance to industries to understand the technical requirements for accessing loans in adherence with national regulations. Support to Reforms – Environmental Governance (StREG): the EU has an ₏8 million StREG overall objective to improve the environmental performance of the Lebanese public sector through environmental governance reforms. The project

was launched in March 2014 to install within the Ministry of Environment effective environmental planning by mainstreaming enforcement within other key ministries.

The commitment of the Ministry of Environment to combat industrial pollution and the strategies and plans prepared by the Ministry of Energy and Water along with the support provided by international donor community are directed toward preserving natural resources, reducing the excessive consumption of water and improving the quality of discharged water. These combined efforts will mitigate the negative impacts on the fragile environment in Lebanon.

Camping site on a Lebanese river, Lebanon. Source: George Haddad


Source: MEDRC

Ciarán Ó Cuinn, MEDRC Director Revolve speaks with Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Director of the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) in Muscat, Oman, about connecting water and energy around the Mediterranean.

How does the work of MEdRC engage with water-energy linkages? It’s the core of what we do. We are an international organization with a very specific remit to find better, cheaper and more sustainable sources of water for the Middle East and North Africa region. That work revolves around minimizing the carbon


footprint and energy requirement of desalination and water reuse plants and processes. We support research to deliver on this goal. We work with companies to show them how to boost energy efficiency. We also provide a large regional training program that focuses on design, operation and management of desalination plants to cut energy and carbon footprints.

is the Mediterranean region doing enough to highlight and deal with the issues created from connecting energy and water? No region of the world is doing enough. I would be more confident for the Mediterranean region than many others however. The academic, industrial and state

capacity in the region is good. To give one example, through Spain’s role in MEDRC as a Member State, I have seen at first-hand their world-class academic and industrial capacity and the public policy commitment of the Spanish government to drive innovation in desalination powered by more renewable energy sources. At the other end of the Mediterranean, we support a significant amount of water research in Gaza and the scientific standards and ingenuity we see is quite extraordinary. Similarly, at government and agency levels all around the Mediterranean we have a cohort of world-class officials and specialists. The trick is empowering them at a regional level and then listening to them. Additionally, because of the Union

for the Mediterranean, we have a good foundation organization to drive the broad regional initiatives needed to bring about the urgent improvements to deliver on the challenge of fresh water scarcity and the energy, food security and strategic issues.

What sort of initiatives would you suggest the Mediterranean region take?

able targets, with underpinning and common changes in public policy; academia and researchers need to find the means of delivering on those targets; and the enterprise sector then needs to fund and commercialize these means. This all has to happen across borders, cultures and traditions. It’s not easy but there is no alternative and the very act of engaging with the challenge will bring an unprecedented degree of collaboration and joint-purpose.

In delivering on any massive regional or global grand challenge you need three actors working together: governments, academia and business. In essence, what needs to happen is this: governments need to set tough but technologically-achiev-

Disparate, disjointed initiatives will not work. It is a simple reality that in the realm of water, energy, food security and climate change we are interdependent. The Mediterranean nations need to work together. That means more than government officials, it means

Fujairah 2 (hybrid desalination plant) in the United Arab Emirates. Source: Kruger

government, academia and enterprise designing and delivering on simple regional targets for energy efficiency in desalination, water quality, agricultural standards, and anti-pollution measures. It means helping those who have less money or infrastructure to meet the targets. It means sharing capacity and responsibility. Behind the targets we need public policy support for funded research programs, knowledge exchange to deliver the practical means for targets to be reached, and a regulatory environment to facilitate commercialization of these solutions. The targets we pick cannot be nebulous or general; they need to be specific and binding.

Many of these individual elements are already in place and simply need to be focused towards these targets. A good example of this

is research. To give one practical example: MEDRC is involved in the Water Drop Project, part of the EU ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Program that is trying to develop policies and best practices in water management across our region. With the Union for the Mediterranean we have a great starting point for this kind of cooperation.

are you optimistic about reducing the carbon and energy impact of desalination? The energy requirement is falling, but not fast enough. Relative to oil and gas, renewables remain expensive, but that is clearly changing. New desalination innovations in membrane technology such as forward osmosis, biomimetics, carbon nanotubes and graphene remain commercially elusive and have not yet had their promised impacts.

MEDRC conference, Muscat, Oman. Source: MEDRC

When you examine the fall in desalination prices over the past decades, it is clear that improvements in design, management, the scale of equipment and preand post-treatment have been as important as improvements in the core reverse osmosis technology. That means there is scope for more immediate energy and efficiency savings in knowledge exchange, regulation and common demandside initiatives. Sitting back and waiting for some silver bullet delivered through a new graphene or forward osmosis process that may be years away is not sensible. We need to act now, each of us playing our own practical part. That’s what MEDRC is trying to do. As well as working with governments, on a practical level through our regional training program, we provide guidance on significantly boosting energy efficiency through design, opera-

tion and maintenance of desalination plants. Training includes a dedicated solar desalination program. We have a full 3m3 per hour desalination training plant and 15kWh of solar panels where we can also provide hands-on training and advice to companies and government agencies.

Desalination brings together many of the issues around energy and water.

You were formed out of the Middle East Peace Process as an environmental peace-building organization. across the Mediterranean region today we see countries experiencing conflict and civil strife. is it realistic to even attempt a regional approach to energy and water against this backdrop? Absolutely. At its core MEDRC is a tool for states to deal with a common trans-boundary environmental challenge, in this case fresh water scarcity. Established in 1996 out of the Water Working Group of the multilateral track of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), we serve the Core Parties of the Peace Process and hope to contribute to the achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East by

promoting and supporting joint research, training, dialogue and capacity building in the water area. Unique among the organizational elements flowing from the Oslo Accords, we continued our work since 1996 and remain a platform for cooperation between the Core Parties of the Peace Process and other supporting Member State across the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. The clear lesson from almost 20 years of work is that no matter what enmity exists, dialogue is the only way forward. Equally important, from a regional perspective, is the need to need to accept that there will be stops and starts in any trans-national or cross-border project. The important thing is to take the long perspective. Peace is a long-term struggle.

The Middle East Desalination Research Center P.O. Box 21, PC 133, Al-Khuwair, Oman http://www.medrc.org

MEDRC building, Muscat, Oman. Source: MEDRC



Above: Africa’s Largest PV Plant by Masdar, Sahara Desert, West Africa. Source: Masdar Cover: Noudhibou ship graveyard in Mauritania. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Transporting wind turbine pylons to install in Morocco. Source: AGT

Rows of solar panels at the Ain Beni Mathar thermo-solar power plant in north-eastern Morocco. Source: Dana Smillie / World Bank

Cleaning solar panels at the Ain Beni Mathar thermo-solar power plant in Morocco. Source: Abengoa

The vertical orientation of Lumian panels increases the surface area illuminated by both direct and diffuse light. Source: Solix BioSystems.

Desalination plant in Saudi Arabia. Source: Miguel Alvarez

Still under Israeli naval siege, Palestinians fish and pray along the Gaza coast of the Mediterranean near a broken pipe discharging untreated waste water into the sea. Source: Revolve Media

The project to clean-up the Bizerte Lake in southern Tunisia. Source: Mohamed Messara / EIB

The project to clean-up the Bizerte Lake in southern Tunisia. Source: Mohamed Messara / EIB

Rance Tidal Power Station located on the estuary of the Rance River in Brittany, western France. Source: EDF

Upper and lower basin of Limberg II pumped storage plant, Austria. Source: VOITH

The power of La Baells Dam, Barcelona, Catalonia. Source: Xavier Duran / ACA

In the shade of the photovoltaic solar panels in the Forum area of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Source: Stephanie Ilner

To view more photo essays on water and energy around the Mediterranean and beyond, visit: www.revolve-water.com

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