By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 10 February 2014:
Water reserves supplying Benghazi could run dry within a month if southern pumping stations for the . . .[restrict]man-made river (MMR) remain inactive due to power shortages.
Head of operations for the MMR Authority, Sami Al-Jahani, told the Libya Herald that current rates of consumption in Benghazi – roughly 230,000 litres per day – had depleted reserves to 15 million cubic litres. He added that these would probably last no longer than a month.
Water has been supplied to Benghazi via two agricultural reservoirs since the pumping stations stopped working over a fortnight ago. These two reservoirs, named Omar Al-Mukhtar and the Greater Omar Al-Mukhtar respectively, are located some 50 kilometres south of Benghazi in Suluq. With a combined capacity of 28 million cubic metres, these have recently been the only source of clean water for towns from Ajdabiya to Benghazi.
Towns from Sirte to Benghazi have suffered from water shortages since the end of January, when clashes in the south forced the closure of Sarir power station. Further fighting in the area severed transmission lines, preventing electricity from reaching the MMR pumps.
Problems were further compounded when a farmer caused a high-pressure leak. He had tried to divert water from a main pipe to his farm 10 kilometres north of Ajdabiya. The engineer in charge of reservoir stability at Ajdabiya, Kaled Dobouh, said that this leak resulted in the loss of some 70,000 cubic metres of water, after crews were forced to open taps at the site to release a build-up of pressure. He added, however that the leak had now been contained. [/restrict]