US F-18-C Hornets preparing to “visit” Libyan military forces
When embattled Libyan leader Muamar Gadaffi completed the first major stage of his Great Man Made River project, many heralded it as “the 8th Wonder of the World.” The massive project began in August 1984, and the first water began to flow in September, 1989, to a reservoir outside the city of Ajdabiya.
It has carried as much as 5 million cubic meters of fresh water per day across the Sahara desert from ancient underground aquifers (see the amazing picture of it below). The project is now be endangered from ongoing warfare that could be at the expense of several environmental projects that were put in place by Libya’s strong but eccentric dictator.
Map showing stages of river project
The project entails bringing fresh water from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System. This is a network of ancient underground caverns which trapped billions of gallons of fresh water into soaked, porous sandstone during a time when the climate in that part of the world was actually temperate. Animals like elephants, giraffes, wildebeests and other African species roamed there and were hunted by primitive peoples living in the region. Rock paintings of these animals, and the peoples who hunted them can be seen to this day in the “rock art” that is found in certain parts of Libya; especially the Acacus and Messak rock art paintings.
Libyan rock art: also in danger?
Scientists have estimated that these underground “reservoirs” may contain as much as 35,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water, which could turn much of Libya into a virtual oasis and provide more than enough agricultural produce for the Libyan people. The network of water pipes when finally finished, is estimated to cost around $25 billion USD. So far, Phase 1 and 2 are finished with two others planned.
Muamar prepares for rainy days
It was announced in the news that the Libyan government is willing to make a peace deal with the rebels that would include a large number of government reforms, including more democracy for Libyan citizens. This would of course be on condition that Gaddafi remains in power.
The ongoing conflict is looking more and more like a “no win situation” as the opposing side doesn’t seem to have a governing or military infrastructure capable of taking over and running the country.
This is especially true in regards to managing the country’s chief revenue generator, oil, and projects like the Great Man Made River and desert irrigation agricultural projects.
In the end, the Colonel may be “off the wall”‘, but he may be smarter than most people give him credit for. For in the end, the oil must flow – American and other Western energy markets are still dependent on it. Maybe if allowed to remain, Gaddafi’s next eco-projects could be with solar or wind energy. He for one certainly has the “wind”.
Read more on Libyan eco-projects: