A 32-year aridity analysis: a tool for better understanding on water resources management in Lebanon

Abstract

Water scarcity has been well pronounced in the Middle East Region; however, Lebanon is still characterized by wet climate and sufficient water resources. It is a paradox that Lebanon is now under water stress, and many contradictory studies on the climate of Lebanon attributed water stress to the changing climate. Most of these studies were applied with incomplete climatic data records. Therefore, all management approaches were implemented after considering climate as a major influencer on water resources. In this study, the Emberger Aridity Index (EAi) was employed to investigate the climate regime of Lebanon over more than 30 years focusing on ten representative meteorological stations where comprehensive climatic records were analysed and supported by remotely sensed data. The EAi indicates that Lebanon is still characterized by humid climate, which conflicts with the concept of drought existence. Thus, 47% of the Lebanese territory is characterized by humid to sub-humid climate and 29% by semi-arid climate according to Emberger classification. This obviously shows that even the climate impact has a role on water scarcity, but it is not the principal influencer. The results of this study help applying new approaches for water management where the negative human interference should be accounted. It guides stakeholder and decision-maker to follow appropriate water and agricultural policies and strategies for better sustainable development.

Publication
Acta Geophysica

Abstract


Water scarcity has been well pronounced in the Middle East Region; however, Lebanon is still characterized by wet climate and sufficient water resources. It is a paradox that Lebanon is now under water stress, and many contradictory studies on the climate of Lebanon attributed water stress to the changing climate. Most of these studies were applied with incomplete climatic data records. Therefore, all management approaches were implemented after considering climate as a major influencer on water resources. In this study, the Emberger Aridity Index (EAi) was employed to investigate the climate regime of Lebanon over more than 30 years focusing on ten representative meteorological stations where comprehensive climatic records were analysed and supported by remotely sensed data. The EAi indicates that Lebanon is still characterized by humid climate, which conflicts with the concept of drought existence. Thus, 47% of the Lebanese territory is characterized by humid to sub-humid climate and 29% by semi-arid climate according to Emberger classification. This obviously shows that even the climate impact has a role on water scarcity, but it is not the principal influencer. The results of this study help applying new approaches for water management where the negative human interference should be accounted. It guides stakeholder and decision-maker to follow appropriate water and agricultural policies and strategies for better sustainable development.