Egypt’s alleged intention to transfer groundwater from Libya sparks controversy

Activists on social media have circulated news about Egypt’s transfer of Libyan groundwater in the “shared Nubian Sandstone Basin” to its lands via an artificial river. The news says that Egypt has started exploring for groundwater on the border to reclaim millions of hectares and solve its complex water crisis with other countries. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of National Unity (GNU) denied the circulated news regarding the groundwater transfer, saying all the statements out there about the issue didn’t represent the official stance of Libya.

The Director of the Joint Authority for the Study and Development of the Nubian Sandstone Reservoir, Abdulrahim Hweish, commented on the issue by saying that the track of ground and surface water did not recognize political borders, but rather moved from one place to another according to different hydraulic statistics. He said that water resources were managed in a smooth, scientific manner, and there was no threat to water security in Libya.

The joint Nubian Sandstone Basin, which has been sparking controversy between Libya and Egypt, is the largest fossil groundwater basin in the world, shared by four African countries: Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and Chad. The area of ​​the basin is estimated at about 2.2 million square kilometers, more than 760,000 square kilometers in Libya, 828,000 square kilometers in Egypt, 376,000 square kilometers in Sudan, and 235,000 square kilometers in Chad.

In 1989, a joint apparatus was formed to study and develop the reservoir between Libya and Egypt, and in 1991 an agreement was signed between Libya and Egypt to establish a joint apparatus to develop the reservoir’s water for the benefit of the countries in which it was located. Sudan joined Libya and Egypt in 1995, and Chad followed in 1999.


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