Monday, April 4, 2011

Libya warns of disaster if 'Great Man-Made River' hit

Terra Daily via AFP: Libya warned on Sunday that NATO-led air strikes could cause a "human and environmental disaster" if they damaged the country's massive Great Man-Made River (GMMR) project. Built at a cost of 33 billion dollars, the GMMR extracts water from deep beneath the Sahara desert at a depth of between 500 and 800 metres (1,600 to 2,500 feet), purifies it and transports it to the coastal cities of the north where most of the population is concentrated.

Engineer and project manager Abdelmajid Gahoud told foreign journalists in the ultra-modern control centre on the outskirts of Tripoli, that a "human and environmental disaster" was on the cards if the GMMR was hit.

He said three pipelines, one for gas, one for oil and another for water, run underground parallel to the 400-kilometre-long (248 miles) road from the eastern city of Benghazi to Moamer Kadhafi's home town of Sirte, through the area between Ajdabiya and Sirte where there have been many coalition air raids.

"If one of the pipelines is hit, the others are affected as well, which could mean a humanitarian catastrophe," Gahoud said....

NASA from 2006, a false-color w:ASTER image of the w:Grand Omar Mukhtar reservoir, part of the w:Great Manmade River project in Libya. Water (dark blue) residing in reservoirs appears twice in this image, in the upper right and at the bottom. Vegetation appears red. Cityscape structures such as pavement and buildings appear in gray. Bare ground appears tan or beige.

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