Environment: A Plan to Make the Desert Gush

Billions start to flow to create Gaddafi's man-made river

Controversy sticks as closely to Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as the bodyguards who follow him everywhere. In the past it has stalked his political and military moves; now it is tracking him into the desert, where hydrology rather than revolutionary politics has captured his interest. In a scheme, large even by colonel's standards, Libya is gearing up to mine water from beneath the Sahara Desert and pipe it hundreds of miles to the Mediterranean littoral, where there is an increasingly serious water shortage. The program is not only hugely expensive but also controversial. Says Brian Smith of the Institute of Hydrology...

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