Litani River Dam

The Litani River Dam was established in 1959 and created the largest artificial lake in Lebanon. The area of the lake is about 12 square kilometers, and the capacity the lake is able to hold is about 220 million cubic meters. The height of the dam is 60 meters, the length is 1,350 meters and the width is 162 meters, at most. As a whole, the size of the dam is about 2 million cubic meters

The Litani basin holds about 700 millions of cubic meters of water flow per year, based on 25 years of measurements, from 1941-1971. However, its flow fluctuates from year to year due to heavy or light precipitation. The minimum release from the basin was in 1970 at 184 million cubic meters and the maximum release was in 1954 at 1020 MCM. The estimated average annual flow of the Litani is 920 million cubic meters.

The Litani River, estimated to be about 170 kilometers long, is smaller than the Jordan River in terms of its total water flow. The Litani has high quality water. In particular, its concentration of salt is 20 parts per million compared with 250-350 parts per million for the Sea of Galilee.[1]

Location Of The River

The Litani River is located within the borders of Lebanon. The river rises in the center of the northern Biqa'a Valley, which is a short distance west of Baalbek and continues to flow between the Lebanon mountain to the west and the anti-Lebanon mountains to the east, running south and southwest at its own pace. The river then enters a gorge at Qarun, and then follows through it about 30 kilometers and, near Nabatiya and the Beaufort Castle, precipitously turns right, to the west, and breaks through the mountain range to the right. The Litani River continues to flow through the elevated landscape of the al-Amal region. North of Tyre, the fourth largest city in Lebanon and houses one of the nation's major ports, it empties into the Mediterranean.[2]

The Litani River flows not far from Israel. The closest part of the Litani to Israel is where the river turns by Nabatiya, four kilometers from Israel's border. The river's distance from Israel makes it even more tempting for Israel to utilize. A narrow ridge, about 5 kilometers wide separates the Litani from the Hasbani River, a tributary of the Jordan River.[3]


The structure of the dam is made of stacked rock debris whose front layer is made up of cobble rocks. The dam is made up of leak proof tiles which are made of reinforced concrete which is disguised in the front of the dam, with a thickness varying between 50 centimeters in the lower section of the dam and 30 centimeters in the upper section of it. These tiles reside an area of 47000 square meters and they are attached to each other by a rubber substance called WATER STOP. Spaces that are left between tiles are fused together with insulating asphalt-based materials. The Litany dam is also equipped with two taps to empty the lake. The experts who administered the study of the Litani project all agreed that the location selected by the engineer, Ibrahim Abdul Aal, and the geologist, Dubertret, for the construction of the dam between Qaraoon and Suhmur, was the most sufficient geographical location and that is why it was authorized as the project venue.

Water use

The stored water is used to generate electric power for the three power stations, Markaba, Awai, and Joon, which are affiliated to the Litani River Authority. The waters is also used to irrigate more than 1,400 hectares of agricultural lands in the Bekaa Valley as well as 36,000 hectares of agricultural lands in the South.

A service gallery, which is the pipe foundation, of 6,503 meters carries the water to the underground hydroelectric station. The water then goes through transformers and produces a maximum of 185 megawatts. The Litani dam will eventually provide local irrigation for 31,000 hectares of farmland in South Lebanon and 8,000 hectares in the Beqaa Valley, with a total of almost 40,000 hectares of irrigation.[4]


In August 2006 in Qasmiya, Lebanon, Israeli bombing knocked out the irrigation canals supplying Litani River water to more than 10,000 acres of farmland and 23 villages located in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Lebanon has suspicions that the Jewish State desires water from the Litani, however the Israel’s deny having these covets. Continued, this prompted accusations that Israel was using its war against Hezbollah, a powerful political and military organization in Lebanon made up mainly of Shia Muslims, to lay claim to Lebanon's prime watersheds.[5]

There was heavy fighting and a series of targeted strikes on open water channels. Water engineers told reporters that the underground water diversion pipes were also suspended and much of Lebanon's agricultural use of the Litani River was suspended along the coastal plain and in parts of the Bekaa Valley.[6]

The strikes were largely unnoticed by the outside world, but it was nearly a monthlong air assault targeting Hezbollah guerrilla strongholds in southern Lebanon by Israeli’s. The Lebanese pointed straight to the extensive damage to their irrigation and drinking water system as evidence that border security and water issues remain intertwined in a region short on both.[7]

Visiting The Litany Dam

Visitors are welcome to the Litani Dam. The Litani Dam office is at the southern end of the lake, located on the left side. The lake area has a hotel and a number of restaurants specializing in fresh trout.[8]


  1. "ICE Cases: Litani River Dispute". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  2. "ICE Cases: Litani River Dispute". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  3. "ICE Cases: Litani River Dispute". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  4. "Tourism @". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  5. Murphy, Kim (2006-08-10). "Old Feud Over Lebanese River Takes New Turn". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  6. Soffer, Arnon (1994-01-01). "The Litani River: Fact and Fiction". Middle Eastern Studies. 30 (4): 963–974. JSTOR 4283685.
  7. "The Israel Lebanon War for Water - UK Indymedia". Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  8. "Tourism @". Retrieved 2016-04-28.

Coordinates: 33°32′54″N 35°41′22″E / 33.5483°N 35.6894°E / 33.5483; 35.6894

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