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News Libya chaos leaves city residents struggling for water

Hundreds of blue pipes lay abandoned in Zintan, Libya, leaving residents struggling to get enough water after the 2011 revolution halted their spot on the world’s largest irrigation project.

“We have nothing in Zintan,” said Al-Sid Chanta, a trucker who collects water supplied from a reservoir to deliver to residents’ homes.

Without the pipes in place to channel water directly to the city, he makes the trip eight times a day to meet people’s basic needs.

“The (public) services are very poor,” said Chanta, who estimated each family needs approximately 40,000 litres of water a month.

Zintan was to be included in Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project, a vast scheme to tap water from underground aquifers deep in the Sahara Desert, purify it and transport it north.

The city’s portion of the project was abandoned after the 2011 ousting of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, leaving locals to rely on the old delivery system for water.

The reservoir feeds wells at the foot of the Nafusa Mountains, where water is collected by truckers who take a steep road to supply less than 50% of Zintan’s 60,000 residents.

Abdallah al-Rammah, director of city hall’s water department, said there is a “large deficit” in water and the distribution network dates to the 1970s. Similar systems are used by other cities around the mountains, such as Rojbane, Nalut and Yafran.

Zintan also lacks a public sewage system, meaning used household water feeds into septic tanks that have polluted the groundwater, which is pumped and used by residents. That has resulted in regular hepatitis C diagnoses, especially among children, a doctor in Zintan said on condition of anonymity.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
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Source of information hearabweekly
Geographical coverage Libya,
News date 13/05/2019
Working language(s) ENGLISH