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Qaddafi's Vast Water Project

Qaddafi's Vast Water Project

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Published by Michael Drew Prior
Turn the desert green--that was about to be accomplished.
Turn the desert green--that was about to be accomplished.

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Published by: Michael Drew Prior on Dec 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Libya's Qaddafi taps 'fossil water'to irrigate desert farms
While many countries in the Middle Eastand North Africa bicker over water rights, Libya has tapped into an aquifer of 'fossil water' to change itstopography – turning sand into soil. The26-year, $20 billion project is nearlyfinished.
from The Christian Science Monitor,Aug 23, 2010 by Sarah A. TopolTripoli, LibyaIn the middle of theLibyan Desert’sscorched yellow sands, rows of green grapes dangle off vines;almond trees blossom in neat lines,and pear tree orchards stretch into
the distance.Libyais one of the driest countrieson Earth, bereft of rivers, lakes, andrain. But here the desert is blooming.In theMiddle EastandNorth Africa, the quest to turn thousands of milesof desert into arable land has takena backseat to containing animpending water shortage. Whilemany countries in the regionbicker over water rights, Libya has taken itupon itself to change its topography – turning sand into soil.The Great Man-Made River, which isleader Muammar Qaddafi'sambitious answer to the country’swater problems, irrigates Libya’slarge desert farms. The 2,333-mile
network of pipes ferry water fromfour major underground aquifers insouthern Libya to the northernpopulation centers. Wells punctuatethe water’s path, allowing farmers toutilize the water network in their fields.The Libyan government says the 26-year project has cost $19.58 billion.Nearing completion, the Great Man-Made River is the largest irrigationproject in the world and thegovernment says it intends to use itto develop 160,000 hectares(395,000 acres) of farmland. It isalso the cheapest available option toirrigate fields in the water-scarcecountry, which has an averageannual rainfall of about one inch.“Rainfall is just concentrated in 5

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