Oil-rich Libya has been plunged into chaos for the last decade, throughout which public utilities like Tobruk’s desalination plant were largely neglected.
It has become a struggle for the residents of the Libyan city of Tobruk to gain access to water with the only sea water desalination plant in need of massive repairs.
Bashir al-Qatani, Tobruk resident:
“As for drinking water, I fill up containers from water treatment shops. Honestly, I buy it from the shops. We cannot understand where the state is taking us. With projects that they (authorities have) started to implement, such as roads, it was more important to focus on water projects.When it comes to electricity, we are used to its suffering (blackouts). It (the electricity) is always out. But this water shortage is a matter of life and death.”
If the water supply is cut off, the lives of thousands of people will be threatened, an official has warned.
It once provided 40,000 cubic meters per day, a number that has shrunk by two thirds due to obvious wear and tear in the plant, Tobruk municipality official Masoud al-Wahran said.
“Honestly, what is available now is only about 15,000 cubic meters per day. So this is really a big problem, a problem that worries officials and residents. And there are no solutions on the horizon, not in the short term
“If the water is cut off from Tobruk and the plant stops working and the electricity goes out, God forbid, about 300,000 people will be threatened with dying from thirst.”
Rusty pipes can be seen at the plant, which currently supplies an insufficient amount of water to the city.
Libya is completely reliant on seawater desalination and groundwater.