The Great Man-Made River was one of late Muammar Gaddafi's most notable projects during his 42 years in power in Libya. To fulfill his goal, he aspired to ensure that more than then-6 million citizens had access to drinkable water, and he wanted to see the Sahara green and flourishing with agricultural plants, giving Libya ultimate food self-sufficiency.
During the 1953 oil drilling undertaking, water aquifers beneath the country's southern area were found. It was assessed that it would have taken more than one century to deplete the reserve. In 1984, Gaddafi inaugurated the multi-billion dollar project with the help of North Korean engineers and contractors who worked together with local companies. More than 80% of the material utilized, including pipes, were developed in the country.
A total of 1300 wells, some of which attained a depth of 500 meters, were dug into the desert deep to bring much-needed water to major cities, plantations, and industries. The Libyans were then supplied with water through the network of underground pipelines that measured more than 3 meters in diameter.
Everyone who was ready to farm acquired free seeds, fertilizer, and agricultural tools from government to begin farming, and thousands of hectares of land were put under irrigation. When all three phases of the project were finished, NATO and some countries that included Ukraine started their bombing campaign against Libya's infrastructure in 2011. In July 2011, US and France fighter jets targeted supply pipes and pipeline manufacturing sites, and destroyed them. They claimed that it was a site for weapon storage.
Eighty percent of the project was wiped off in the assault and major towns that includes Tripoli and Benghazi had no credible water supply to date. In 2018, the new administration tried to fix it but civil wars from opposing forces keep on annihilating it. A project that took many years and billions of US dollars to construct was destroyed in one day by foreigners.
This article was compiled and published by Yator Enock from Kapkimolwa, Bomet county.
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