Executive Summary 

The Anti-Lebanon Mountain range is located at the Lebanese-Syrian border between the Bekaa Plain in the west and the Damascus Plain in the east. The mountain range stretches from the Homs Plain in the north to beyond its highest peak, Mount Hermon, in the south. The Anti-Lebanon receives significant precipitation, especially along its western flank, and is an important source of water, both locally and in the wider regional context, as it forms the source of a number of rivers in the Mashrek.

The hydrology and hydrogeology of this deeply faulted mountain range is highly complex and poorly understood to date, also in terms of the transboundary nature of surface and groundwater basins. Groundwater in the Anti- Lebanon is mainly stored in highly fractured and karstified Jurassic and Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) carbonate rocks, which often extend across political borders. Several large springs emanate from these aquifers and contribute to the Awaj, Barada, Litani, Orontes and (Upper) Jordan Rivers.

This chapter describes the Anti-Lebanon Mountain range in general terms, introduces the main aquifer systems and provides more detailed information on the catchments of the Anjar-Chamsine, Barada and Figeh Springs as examples of shared groundwater resources in the mountain range (see table below). Despite the potential benefits of joint investigations, management and protection schemes, there is limited cooperation between Lebanon and Syria on shared water resources in the Anti-Lebanon. The springs and catchments that originate in the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon and contribute to the headwaters of the Jordan River are covered in more detail in Chapter 6.

  • The ruins of Anjar, Lebanon, 2011. Source: Khalid Albaih.
  • The source of the Barada Spring in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains in Syria, 2009. Source: Adel Samara.
  • The Anti-Lebanon Mountain range near Bloudan, Syria, 2009. Source: Cristen Rene.
  • Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 2011. Source: Karan Jain.

Basin Facts 

Riparian Countries Lebanon, Syria
Alternative Names --
Shared Basins Anjar-Chamsine, Barada, Figeh
Renewability Medium to high (20 - >100 mm/yr)
Hydraulic Linkage with Surface Water Strong
Rock Type Carbonate, karstic
Aquifer Type Anjar-Chamsine: unconfined-confined
Barada: --
Figeh: unconfined, semi-confined, confined
Extent of Catchment Anjar-Chamsine: 248 km2
Barada: 149 km2
Figeh: 658 km2
Age Mesozoic (Upper Cretaceous, Jurassic)
Lithology Limestone, dolomites, marls
Thickness Anjar-Chamsine: 900 m (AVG)
Barada: 2,000-2,200 m
Figeh: 480-680 m
Average Annual Abstraction --
Storage --
Water Quality Anjar-Chamsine: ..
Barada: <500 mg/L TDS
Figeh: 200-600 mg/L TDS
Water Use Agricultural, domestic and industrial
Agreements --
Sustainability Local abstractions and contamination in catchments may impact quantity and quality of discharge from springs