By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 12 September 2013:
Jubilant cries have been greeting the first sight of water dribbling out of taps across Tripoli . . .[restrict]today, as the Ministry of Water Resources stayed good to its word that the capital would have water by Friday.
It has been a long week of shortages, with people forced to cut back on basic cleaning and reserve bottled water for essentials. Locals have been resourceful, reusing water from air conditioning units for the toilet, tapping into wells at mosques or homes and stockpiling bottled water, but right now nothing beats the sight of water gushing from a tap.
The supply to Tripoli was stopped on 3 September after members of the Magarha tribe stormed the main pumping station of the Man-Made River (MMR) at Jebel-Hasana. They forced employees to stop work and said they would not allow pumping to restart until the kidnapped daughter of Qaddafi-era spy chief Abdullah Senussi had been released.
Anoud Senussi was kidnapped on 2 September, just after she left Ruhaimi Prison at Ain Zara where she had served a ten-month sentence for entering the country on a false passport. The kidnap was later said to have been executed by Libyan Special Forces, in a move apparently designed to protect Anoud.
The pipeline was finally reopened just two hours after Anoud was returned to family members in Sebha. However, because the pipes were full of air, water had to be reintroduced gradually, to prevent a dangerous build-up of pressure that could have caused an explosion.
For water from the south to reach Tripoli, more than 1 million cubic metres per day needed to be flowing through the pipelines. Today, that target was clearly reached. [/restrict]