Factors influencing development of management strategies for the Abou Ali River in Lebanon. I: Spatial variation and land use

May A. Massoud, Mutasem El-Fadel, Mark D. Scrimshaw, John N. Lester

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    67 Scopus citations


    Surface water bodies are progressively subject to increasing stress as a result of environmentally degrading processes primarily related to anthropogenic activities. This study assesses and examines the impact of land use and land-based activities on the spatial variation in water quality of the Abou Ali River in North Lebanon. It is the first detailed study of its kind in Lebanon and adds to the existing knowledge by shedding light on a relatively small Mediterranean river in a developing country where there is a paucity of such studies. The assessment was conducted at the end of the dry season in 2002 and 2003 and the end of the wet season in 2003 and 2004. The study has demonstrated the importance of anthropogenic influences on the water quality of the Abou Ali River Basin, as concentrations of most contaminants were higher at locations with greatest human activity. The most adversely affected area was the section of the river that flows through an entirely urbanized and highly populated region, the Tripoli conurbation. Upstream rural sites were enriched by contaminants primarily from non-point sources such as agricultural runoff and poultry litter whereas contaminant concentrations at the urban sites were enriched by a combination of sewage discharge and flow of contaminants from upstream. If the Abou Ali River is to be utilized as a managed water resource and its water quality sustained, point source discharges will require treatment and land use management must be planned to minimize the impact of diffuse source pollution on the river. A high priority should be given to the implementation and enforcement of the precautionary and polluter pays principles. Moreover, an effective legal, economic and institutional framework is required to encourage investment in waste reduction and control and to introduce environmentally sound practices.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)15-30
    Number of pages16
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Issue number1-3
    StatePublished - 1 Jun 2006


    • Abou Ali River
    • Land use
    • Lebanon
    • Management
    • Spatial variation
    • Water quality


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