Dear Sir,

The Daily B Wednesday had a full-page article on water shortage in super oil rich Libya. Back in 1965, in the era of King Idris. I was a Petroleum Engineer in the middle of his Sahara. My oil field Sarir was gigantic over half the size of our Ibiza. Under this monstruous area of sand hid a surprise - an equally gigantic aquafer of absolutely pure fresh water which we had to drill through to reach the crude oil.

On all the exploration wells we had to declare any water deposits drilled through. In wells where no oil was found any fresh water deposits had to be developed such that wandering nomads (or the like) could water their camels.

All my time in Libya (and Algeria) I never saw a single Bedouin nor one of their camels. The cost to the company of making a fresh water well would have been small but even so we had to doctor the fresh water samples with a touch of salt! Eventually the truth must have leaked out (forgive the pun) and on 28 Aug 1984 Colonel Ghadaffi laid foundation stone of the “Great Man Made River”. A water pipe line umpteen feet in diameter and extending hundreds of miles from the Sarir oil field to the coast. Ghadaffi was deposed in 2011 and brutally executed (shot and sodomised) by a mob of ex-fanatics. For all their faults dictators bring stability.

Since then the country has been in mayhem and the upkeep of this water generating wonder has been abandoned and now the project produces little fresh water.

Mike Lillico
Playa de Palma