The Orontes River basin is one of the most conflict affected regions in Syria. Two thirds of the four million inhabitants have been displaced in the past three years. Massive population displacements and the widespread destruction are linked to the highly strategic nature of the basin. Water infrastructures; hydraulic networks, wells and springs are strategic for territorial control and are severely damaged. Water supply has been interrupted in large sectors of the basin. Access to drinking water is a critical issue and agricultural production shrunk by over 70% largely because of the lack of irrigation water.
There is an urgent need to increase emergency assistance and promote assistance for long-term recovery. Beyond emergency relief, the rehabilitation of water infrastructures and the management of water resources will be key elements in a reconciliation process in which Syrian civil society organizations, many of which have emerged in the conflict, have a central part to play.