By Naom Alkhosi and Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 9 July 2014:
Zuwara’s new desalination plant is expected to start prodution this week and feed . . .[restrict]the local water distribution system, according to Zeidan Gurgub, the head of the facility. Producing 20,000 cubic metres of water a day, it will bring an end to shortages in the town and the surrounding areas that had resulted in water tankers having to be brought in.
Gurgub told the Libya Herald that production was starting today and that within a couple of days water would be pumped into the water network serving Zuwara, Al-Jamil, Rigdaleen, Al-Asaha, Zultan, Ras Jedir and Ajilat.
The distillation plant’s second unit is due to begin production in ten days’ time, he said. It will add a further 20,000 cubic metres a day to output.
The plant, built by French desalination specialists Sidem, should have come on-stream over three years ago, but the revolution and then problems over completion delayed matters, leaving the residents of Zuwara increasingly dependent on the water tankers. It is understood that one challenge for the contractor was obtaining insurance for its technicians working in Libya.
Sidem is part of the Veolia group. Eight years ago it completed a desalination plant at Abutaraba, 90km north east of Benghazi and also has also built facilities operating in Derna, Khoms, Sussa, Tobruk, Tripoli and Zawia.
The old Zuwara desalination plant, also with a 40,000-cubic-metre-a-day output, had been so poorly maintained over the years that two of its three units have stopped working and the third was now operating at only 70 percent capacity, Gurgub said.
The aim, he said, was to rehabilitate it so as to achieve a total output of 80,000 cubit metres a day.
It is estimated that work on it would take 18 months.
There have been offers to undertake the project from a number of companies, he said. They are being reviewed.
It is understood that proposals will shortly be requested for a further three new desalination plants, respectively in Misrata, Benghazi and Tripoli.
With input from Hafez Muammar in Zuwara [/restrict]