Libya’s Great Man-Made River project

ManMadeRiverImg 3 - Libya map 3

Muammar Qaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project was one of the great engineering achievements of the 20th century.

Water was pumped thousands of miles from underground reservoirs in the southern Libyan desert to the coast, providing free fresh water to 70 percent of Libya’s population.

libwaterpipelaidBut the 2011 NATO attacks in 2011 greatly damaged it, and there’s no telling whether it will be repaired, let alone completed.

Construction of the project began in 1983.  The work was paid for out of Libya’s oil revenues, without any foreign loans.  The pipes were manufactured in Libya.  Foreign contractors were hired for the initial stages of the work, but over time were replaced by Libyans.

The first three phases, shown on the map above, were completed.  The NATO bombings hit a section of the northern part of the Phase One pipe, plus a concrete pipe factory in Brega (al-Buraqah on the map above).   Bombings also hit electric power plants, so that pumps even on the intact pipelines ceased to work.

I don’t know if repair of the GMMR system has begun.  I doubt it, since Libya doesn’t even have a unitary government.  I don’t know when construction of Phases Four and Five will resume.

When it does, I have three predictions:  (1) the new Libyan government will give sweetheart contracts to American or French companies to do the work, (2) the project will be financed through loans from foreign banks or the World Bank and (3) it will not be completed on schedule or within budget, if at all.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if (4) the whole GMMR were turned over to a private company or private companies.


Great Man-Made River (GMMR) | underground pipeline network, Libya by the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Great Man-Made River of Libya by Kaushik for Amusing Planet.

War Crime: NATO Deliberately Destroyed Libya’s Water Infrastructure by Nafeez Ahmed for The Ecologist (via Truthout)

How Libya’s Great Man-Made Water Project Became Part of the Water Wars by Mathaba for Global Research.

The Great Man-Made River Project: Libya’s Achievement and NATO’s Crimes by Frances Thomas for

Gaddafi’s Man-Made Libya Water Project by Jackie Jura for Orwell Today.  A lot of information, somewhat jumbled.

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