The Omar Mukhtar Reservoir in Libya’s southern desert is the second largest in the world, and an integral component of the $20 billion Great Man-Made River project (GMMR). Begun in 1984, the mammoth pipeline designed to transport water from the south to Libya’s dry northern cities has experienced huge setbacks as a result of Gaddafi’s power struggle with rebel forces. Despite the recently announced ceasefire, CNN reports continuing violence, which is taking its toll on the Canadian firm Pure Technologies’ bottom line. In addition to a delayed shipping consignment worth $10.7 million to the war-besieged country, Pure Technologies expects to lose approximately $2 million technical support revenue.
According to Canadian Business, the company has delayed all construction until conditions in the country stabilize, and have made moves to diversify their business to be less dependent on Libya.
As conditions escalated last week, the British foreign service also evacuated hundreds of oil workers in the region. One of the chartered planes that left from Malta to Gatwick Airport in England was shot at, according to a Guardian report.
Designed to pump water from the underground Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System to sustain the six million inhabitants in the north, the GMMR is one of the most ambitious and costly irrigation projects in history. Critics worry that the ancient aquifer will be depleted.
But it is also crucial to sustaining life in a country whose inhabitants will only have annual access to 332 cubic meters by 2025, according to the United Nations Development Program. This is far below the international standard of 1,000 cubic meters.
Not only does Gaddafi’s continued fight to prolong four decades of power imperil Libya’s populace today, but threatens to undermine the country’s long-term survival as well.
More on environmental issues in Libya:
Libya Touts Great Man-Made River Project As 8th Wonder of the World
BP To Drill Oil Even Deeper Off Libya’s Coast
All Eyes On Libya As Oil Prices Rise
image via NH53