Syrian Water Upgrades to Reduce Mediterranean Sea Pollution

LUXEMBOURG, December 6, 2010 (ENS) – The European Investment Bank and the Government of Syria today announced a finance agreement worth 55 million euros for the development of modern water supply, wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure in northwestern Syria.

European Investment Bank Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive and the Syrian Minister of Housing and Construction Dr. Omar Ghalawanji signed the agreement which is expected to improve water and wastewater services for over 370,000 inhabitants of 200 villages and reduce wastewater discharges into the Mediterranean Sea.

The town of Banias on the Mediterranean coast of Syria (Photo by Oubai Shaban)

The area to be served includes the town of Banias and surrounding villages on the Syrian coast, and villages within the four river catchments of Hreisun, Jobar, Al Ghamkah and Al Dabousiah, which drain into the Mediterranean Sea.

The project is part of the EU Horizon 2020 initiative, one of the priorities of the Union for the Mediterranean, which aims to tackle major sources of Mediterranean pollution by 2020.

Water supply will be improved through rehabilitation and upgrading of existing infrastructure for ground water extraction, particularly in the Banias catchment area, where it is intended to reduce leakage levels from the current 70 percent to 40 percent.

Wastewater collection will be upgraded and separate systems for domestic wastewater and stormwater will be developed.

Construction of one common wastewater treatment plant for the town of Banias and the two river basins of Hreisun and Jobar is planned along with construction of six additional wastewater treatment plants in Al Dabousiah and Al Ghamkah.

“I am particularly proud of the green footprint of this project,” said Vive, who is the top European Investment Bank official responsible for the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership.

Vive said the project provides an important response to the crucial challenge of water management in Syria resulting from high population growth, increasing urbanization, economic development and the reduction of rainfall observed over the last decade.

The project also serves the objectives of Syria’s five-year plan, which sets out the government’s investment priorities to improve access to water and sanitation for the population as a whole, as well as the efficiency and management of the water and sanitation sector.

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