October 08, 2018
World-leading pump manufacturer, Grundfos, has played a key role in a high-level Forum in Beirut on 26-28 September, convened to address the problems facing Lebanon as it battles to upgrade its ageing and inefficient water and energy supply infrastructure in the wake of growing demand and the aftermath of the Syrian refugee crisis.
Organised in association with the Danish Embassy in Lebanon, the Forum included representatives from the Government’s Ministry of Water and four Water Authorities, as well as representatives from Grundfos and a number of other leading Danish-based companies with extensive experience in water, wastewater and energy infrastructure.
It was set up as part of a ‘Strategic Water and Energy Alliance’ initiative by the Danish Trade Council in Lebanon, designed to bring Grundfos and the other companies together with key movers in Lebanon’s water industry and facilitate further discussions on detailed solutions to the country’s problems.
The problems facing Lebanon’s water industry
Lebanon’s water industry is facing some very tough challenges, with demand outstripping supply, inadequate water capture and storage facilities and old and inefficient distribution systems and networks. To add to the problems of rising demand from the country’s developing industry and home consumers, the situation is being exacerbated by an influx of refugees from the crisis in Syria.
To make matters worse, the country has no metering system to measure supply and demand, and underdeveloped wastewater systems mean that water reserves are often contaminated with sewage. In the agriculture sector, which currently accounts for 60% of water usage, outdated and inefficient irrigation techniques mean that huge amounts of water are wasted.
The Lebanese Government recently drew up a Capital Investment Plan to address the infrastructure problems, and in April, at the CEDRE conference in Paris, an audience of 48 countries and institutions, including private sector and civil representatives, agreed a funding package of over $11billion, sufficient to fund the first phase of redevelopment – 55% of which is anchored in the water and energy sectors.
How can Grundfos help
As keynote speaker at the Forum, Grundfos’ Group Director, Water Utility, Morten Riis, outlined the extensive experience that Grundfos has gained working alongside governments and international bodies on similar demanding water projects throughout the world. With over 25-years’ experience in technology and engineering, in recent years focusing on water and energy and, as a member of the Steering Board at 2030 Water Resources Group, board member of Danish Water Forum, board member at green think tank, Concito, and member of the advisory board of the China Europe Water Platform, Morton Riis is one of the most knowledgeable and highly respected men in his field and uniquely qualified to advise on solutions for Lebanon’s problems.
“Lebanon’s water infrastructure, particularly outside Beirut, is in a desperate state and must be addressed”, he said. “However, the problems are not just with the networks, but with the mindset of local authorities and government who, as yet, do not fully appreciate or value the concepts of sustainability and energy efficiency. As such, it is the purchase cost and not the life cycle cost of the equipment needed that is driving decisions. This is something we need to address.
“At Grundfos, we have provided solutions for many of the world’s most demanding water-based projects – from bringing drinking water for the first time to small villages in remote desert regions, installing effective sanitation networks and providing services for the highest and most complex buildings in the world.
“In every project, however, our objective is to add value. We want to work with new and existing customers throughout Lebanon, using our extensive knowledge and experience, cutting edge research and world-class products into play to ensure that we deliver the most effective, and cost-effective, solutions. We want to deliver additional benefits – not only ensuring clean fresh drinking water and effective sanitation, but cutting waste, improving reliability and providing low maintenance solutions that are easy to manage and control”.
Following the success of the Forum, Grundfos and other Danish-based companies will continue networking and meeting with key stakeholders, potential local partners and top private energy and water companies to reinforce the expertise that exists within the group and provide effective solutions. Plans are also in hand for participation in the Beirut Energy Forum exhibition, where it is hoped to develop a core Danish session to help bring Grundfos and the other Danish companies represented into planning discussions for the CEDRE funding.