CSP Enhances Access to Water to 3,760 Residents and Farmers in Bechwat and Neighboring Villages by Upgrading the Area’s Water Pumping Station and Installing a Solar Farm
Bechwat, an agricultural town in Baalbek, Beqaa, is home to 2,000 Lebanese residents and 500 refugees. In addition to supplying water to its residents, Bechwat’s pumping station is a main source of water to the neighboring villages of Safra, El Mshayrfieh, and Ez Zrazir that are home to 500, 400, and 360 residents respectively. For the last 30 years, Bechwat’s municipality operated a back-up generator to ensure continuous water provision amidst frequent state-electricity cuts. However, with state-electricity provision down to 2 hours per day, and the worsening state of municipal finances, the back-up generator fell into disrepair, and the municipality can no longer afford to maintain and operate it. This has severely impacted access to water in the villages, fueling tensions over access to basic services.
In response, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) has upgraded Bechwat’s water pumping station by installing a solar farm with a capacity of 206 kilowatts peak (kWp) to ensure continuous operation. Additionally, CSP rehabilitated the station’s operation room, including waterproofing, lighting, and an earthing system. To ensure the sustainability of this intervention, CSP is also training members of the Bechwat Municipality and the town’s agricultural cooperative on the safe operation and maintenance of the photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, environmental compliance, and grievance mechanisms to ensure the equitable distribution of water.
On November 9, 2023, the CSP-upgraded water pumping station in Bechwat became fully operational following testing and commissioning of all rehabilitated systems. This intervention, is providing adequate and sustainable access to water for irrigation to 3,760 residents and farmers, which includes the 2,500 residents of Bechwat and the neighboring villages of Safra, El Mshayrfieh, and Ez Zrazir. In parallel, this intervention is also reducing municipal fuel costs and mitigating tensions over water shortages in the area.
“Thanks to this USAID intervention, we are now able to provide sustainable access to water in the area, alleviating years of water shortages and irrigation challenges. The upgraded water pumping station will also play a pivotal role in the agricultural sector, significantly contributing to farmers’ livelihoods”, said Hamdan Keyrouz, Mayor of Bechwat.