SIDON: Politicians in Sidon and Tripoli condemned on Friday the severe electricity rationing and its consequences on water supply.

Sidon MP Fouad Siniora met with Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi and the head of south Lebanon’s Water Authority Ahmad Nizam to discuss the city’s water and electricity crisis.

The officials concluded that the lack of water was not due to a shortage in supply, but rather to the increase in electricity rationing.

“The water supply is available, whether coming from Majdalyoun or from Fawwar. The problem resides in the lack of electricity and in the fact that water stations are not linked to the public services electricity line,” Siniora said. The public services line provides power to public institutions such as hospitals with 24-hours electricity.

Siniora explained that the lack of electricity caused pressure inside water pumps to fall, leading to a drop in the water level in pipes.

But the MP noted that buying fuel to run generators that provide electricity for water pumps was expensive, and warned that local residents might steal electricity from the 24-hour service line as the problems continue.

For his part, Nizam said the water authority received a donation of LL20-million ($13.3 million) worth of fuel last Ramadan, but it used some of it during a period of severe electricity rationing.

Nazim blamed the water crisis on the increase in electricity rationing, and asked locals to limit their use of water.

In Tripoli, Solidarity bloc MP Ahmad Karami also criticized the harsh and irregular rationing of electricity, and said locals have been suffering from increased power cuts.

Karami urged concerned officials at Electricite du Liban and at the Energy and Water Ministry to find solutions for the problem, especially as the cuts were coming at the height of summer. He asked officials to assume their responsibilities and stop neglecting the residents of Tripoli.