As part of a massive water-transfer scheme, water is extracted from sandstone aquifers deep beneath the central Libyan desert and shipped to the country’s coastal regions for urban and agricultural uses. U.K.-based Brown & Root Ltd. served as the consulting engineer and construction manager. Korea’s Dong Ah Consortium was the project’s original general contractor. Price Brothers Co., Dayton, Ohio, designed the pipe factories and supplied pipe-making equipment.

Phase-one pipe-making and construction contracts totaled $3.3 billion. This phase involved 1,900 kilometers of prestressed concrete pipe ranging from 1.6 m to 4 m in diameter and was completed in 1993. During phase one, the workforce peaked at 8,000.

Following the imposition of U.S. sanctions in 1986, Price Brothers’ U.K. subsidiary assumed sole responsibility for the company’s obligation. Phase two was completed in 1996. The phase three well fields and pipelines, known as the Al-Gurdabia/Assdada system, came online in 2007. Corrosion is believed to be the cause of several pipeline blowouts over the years. Phase four includes distribution systems and irrigation networks. One component of phase four is known as the Koufra-Tazirbu system, and it is about 30% complete at present. Another component, the Ghadames-Zoura system, is partially built, operating and expected to be completed by the end of 2010. Currently, about 50,000 hectares of land are being irrigated with water supplied by the project, and 80,000 additional acres are being developed for irrigation.

The project ultimately will irrigate 387,000 acres and supply water to several major cities. The present general contractor is Libyian Al Nahr Co. Two other major contractors currrently involved in the project are SNC-Lavalin of Canada and Tekfen Construction-TFL Joint Venture of Turkey (ENR 5/3/84 p. 13; 9/16/91 p. 28, ENR Global Sourcebook, Dec. 2005 p. 44).

Location: Libya

Estimated Cost: $27 billion

Construction Period: 1985 to 2025 or 2030

Developer: Great Man-Made River Authority

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