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Libya to Build Large Reservoir to End Supply Disruptions


The Libyan government last week approved construction of a 24-million-cubic meter drinking water reservoir.

“The project is meant to avoid water supply disruptions in the capital city of Tripoli and the surrounding suburbs,” said Minister of Water Resources Abdel-Hadi Al Hanshir.

He did not say how much the project would cost.

Tripoli has been experiencing these disruptions regularly; the latest incident was just last week.

“As a result, water authorities had to transport 200,000 cubic meters over two days to meet demand, and then increased the amount channelled daily by 800,000 cubic meters,” Al Hanshir said.

Water officials blame water supply cuts in the capital on militants and armed groups, who they say have encroached on water systems in Mount Hasawna, 800 kilometres south of Tripoli, which are the main water sources for the western parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources has decided to transport water to hospitals, state agencies and some areas around Tripoli for free. Thirty mobile water reservoirs have been designated for this purpose.

Libya depends on its Great Manmade River project as one of its main sources of water. The system transports 6.5 million cubic meters daily to northern and coastal cities. Tripoli, located in western Libya, receives around 2.5 million cubic meters daily from aquifers in Mount Hasawna in the south.

Libya is also studying ways to maximize the benefits of the sandstone aquifer lying beneath the desert beneath it and neighboring Egypt, Sudan and Chad.

In addition, the government recently revealed a plan to increase energy production to meet desalination needs. Power plants broke down during the popular uprising that toppled Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. A number of power and water plants were also damaged during the uprising as a result of military operations, which led to supply disruptions nationwide.

It is estimated that reconstruction projects in Libya over the next few years, including water, sanitation and energy projects, will be worth $10-$30 billion USD.

And Libyan officials estimate that reconstruction projects will total as much as $480 billion USD over the next two decades.

This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.