Cover Image
close this bookFreshwater Resources in Arid Lands (UNU, 1997, 94 p.)
close this folder1: Fresh water - A scarce resource in arid lands
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentInternational efforts
View the documentFresh water - A limited resource
View the documentA personal history
View the documentTraditional wisdom
View the documentProblems of major continental aquifers
View the documentThe Aral crisis - Ecocide in arid lands
View the documentHydropolitics along the Jordan river basin and the Dead Sea
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences

Problems of major continental aquifers

There are enormous aquifers to be exploited in the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula. For those aquifers, especially the Sahara ones, UNESCO and FAO have done continuous research since the 1960s (Tunisia, Algeria), and the Observatory of the Sahara and Sahel (OSS) has recently started an enormous monitoring network that includes all available, already existing, national and international monitoring stations. Generally speaking, the problem of the continental aquifer is the number of years that the groundwater can be exploited.

The problem can be illustrated by the following example. The search for alternative water sources has led the country of Libya to pursue an ambitious plan, using the continental aquifer for one of the longest long-distance water transfers, from the middle of the Libyan Sahara to coastal cities along the Mediterranean - a project that is now partially completed and that will exploit the fossil groundwater by focusing on water demand while disregarding its non-renewability.