American Univesity of Beirut

AREC’s research impact potential is replenished by a generous winter rainfall

Unlike recent years, this winter’s heavy rainfall replenished most of the Bekaa rivers and brought back the flow of springs. AREC wells, fed primarily by winter snowmelt, constitute an essential water source for the summer’s irrigated c​rops. This year, precipitation reached 598 mm, exceeding the average (503 mm) by 95 mm; the accumulated snow layer on the mountains exceeded 2 meters. 

Water scarcity, the major threat to general agricultural productivity and to AREC’s sustainability specifically, is due to either extensive mining of the water table, an unconfined aquifer (as in the neighborhood of AREC), or a change in rainfall patterns over time.  During the recent decade, available water at AREC was insufficient to support its research and education efforts. The extended drought resulted in a drop in the water table such that 6 of the 8 deep wells became completely dry. Water for irrigation could only come from a single remaining source: the Tell (hill) well, in the same period declined to a maximum flow of 8 m³ per hour (compared to flows of up to 40 m³ per hour in the years prior to the drought period). We celebrate the replenishment of AREC’s potential!

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