"Libya: Water Emerges as a Hidden Weapon"

"CAIRO -- Libya’s enormous aquatic reserves could potentially become a new weapon of choice if government forces opt to starve coastal cities that heavily rely on free flowing freshwater.

With only five percent of the country getting at least 100 millimetres of rainfall per year, Libya is one of the driest countries in the world.

Historically, coastal aquifers or desalination plants located in Tripoli were of poor quality due to contamination with salt water, resulting in undrinkable water in many cities including Benghazi.

Oil exploration in the southern Libyan desert in the mid-1950s revealed vast quantities of fresh, clean groundwater - this could meet growing national demand and development goals.

Scientists estimate that nearly 40,000 years ago when the North African climate was temperate, rainwater in Libya seeped underground forming reservoirs of freshwater. "

Simba Russeau reports for Inter Press Service May 27, 2011.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011