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Great Manmade River





Great Manmade River, Libya
Great Manmade River, Libya
Great Manmade River, Libya

In Libya, a network of pipelines supplying water from fossil aquifers in the south of the country. The reservoirs are not replenished.
Water is pumped from 270 wells, the deepest being 500 metre deep. Pipes, 4 metre in diametre, run for a total of about 4,000 km into the desert areas. The capacity is 6.5 million m³ per day. Although the water is mainly intended to help agriculture in the country, it is providing water for even the biggest cities in the country.
Libya has several regions with underground water basins, the Tazirba at Kufra and the Jebel Hasana at Marzuq are the largest. Official estimates set the reservoirs to be higher than 35,000 km³. Should these figures be correct, it appears that the reservoirs are emptied in less than 20 years. Still Libyan authorities claims that the amounts of water equals 200 years of Nile River water flow.
The project has been funded by the Libyan government, and its cost has been estimated to be around US$25 billion, all financed without foreign loans.

History
1953: While searching for oil, huge water reservoirs are discovered in the desert.
1960's: Great Manmade River is planned.
1984: The construction work on the Great Manmade River is begun.
1989: Water reach the Ajdabiyya reservoir.
1990: UNESCO steps in to train engineers and technicians working on the project.
1991 August 28: The first phase of the project is opened.
1996: The pipes of the project reach Tripoli.




By Tore Kjeilen