Lebanon’s Council for Reconstruction and Development (CDR) has awarded Italian CMC di Ravenna a $193.5 million tunnelling contract in Beirut.

CMC di Ravenna will use two tunnel boring machines to excavate around 24 kilometres of tunnels and transfer lines for Beirut’s water supply system.

The World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is funding the project with a $200m loan.

The project is part of Greater Beirut Water Supply Project, costing around $370m, to improve the supply of drinkable water, especially in southern Beirut. The water supply scheme also involves constructing three big storage reservoirs, 16 supply reservoirs, a water treatment plant and new smaller pipelines, pumping stations and household meters.

The project will take water from the existing Joun reservoir, which draws water from the Litani and Awali rivers. Water from the Joun reservoir will be transferred through the underground tunnels to a water treatment plant and then on to the 3 major storage reservoirs.

The water scheme aims to increase short-term supply of potable water in the area by 250,000 cubic metres, with 1.2 million residents expected to benefit from the project.

The Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment (BMLWE) has invited prequalifications for the the 250,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) Wardanieh water treatment plant 35 kilometres south of Beirut.