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Libya's Man-Made River

30 April 2008

In the early 1960s geologists accidentally discovered four large underground basins beneath the Libyan desert, with an estimated 120 billion cubic metres of water. These zones are far from the populated coastal region, so the authorities decided to 'bring the water to the people'.

System overview
System overview

The project consists of pumping water from desert wells several hundred metres deep and transporting it through 4 metre diameter buried concrete pipe to storage and detention reservoirs near the coastal stretch.

This project, initiated in 1983 had 2 initial phases. Phase 1, in the east, involved the construction of an irrigation complex stemming out from about 100 well fields. These fields fed a holding reservoir in Ajdabiya through 200 km. of pipeline (green), which in turn fed two other reservoirs in Benghazi and Sirte.

Control room
Control room

Phase 2 was a network of1500 km. of pipeline in the west of the country (blue). In 2002 Vinci Construction Grands Projets was awarded Phase 3 and in 2003 (orange), they entrusted the process control system to the Oil & Gas Engineering unit of Actemium.

68 anti-pressure surge tanks each hold 250 cubic metres of water
68 anti-pressure surge tanks each hold 250 cubic metres of water

Vincent Sevaistre, Actemium project manager, says, ‘Phase 3 consisted of interconnecting the two networks so that the water could flow in both directions. The turnkey construction project included two pumping stations at Phase 1 and 2 terminals, a detention reservoir halfway as well as the connection over a distance of 200 km. This was carried out using 4 metre diameter pre-stressed concrete pipes. Our 3.2M € contract was for the entire equipment process control.’

Dominique Doro, Actemium technical supervisor, adds: 'We carried out the studies, programming, supplying, testing, installation and implementation of the Siemens PCS7 system, which controls 20 motor pumps, eight regulating valves and sixty-eight anti-pressure surge tanks; integrating 30 different operating methods.'


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