WB cancels loan for Bisri Dam Project
The World Bank (WB) has canceled USD 224 million loan to the government of Lebanon for the proposed Bisri Dam Project because it failed to fulfil preconditions required before the funds were disbursed, the organization said. The World Bank notified the Government of Lebanon (GOL) of its decision to cancel the undisbursed funds under the Water Supply Augmentation Project (Bisri Dam Project) due to non-completion of the tasks that are preconditions to the commencement of construction of the Bisri Dam.
- The canceled portion of the loan is USD 244 million and the cancellation is effective immediately.
- Lebanon failed to meet the deadline to finalize the Ecological Compensation Plan and to mobilize a contractor at the dam project worksite.
- The government also failed to finalize operation and maintenance arrangements by August 24.
- According to reports, the Bisri Dam project was approved by Lebanon’s government and parliament in 2015 and it has been funded through a $474 million loan by the World bank.
- The dam is supposed to store 125 million cubic meters of water to provide a solution for chronic water shortages to Lebanese living in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
- The cancellation of loan also comes after several activists reiterated their call to cancel the project, drawing a parallel between failed dam projects in Lebanon and the massive explosion on August 4.
- The World Bank has been heavily invested in mega-dam projects in developing countries. They have already paid around $320 million to Lebanon, including $155 million for expropriations of private land in the Bisri Valley.