UN Warns Libyan Rivals Not to Use Water as a Weapon of War

While Libya’s oil lies at the heart of three months of fighting over Tripoli and years of power struggles before that, water is becoming a far bigger concern for its people. Interruptions to water supplies are common after eight years of near-anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted, but a wider crisis is now coming to a head in a country made up mainly of arid desert and split between competing administrations. In western Libya, finding clean water has become difficult because both the power grid and water control system have been damaged in an offensive by forces loyal to eastern-based Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli, where the U.N.-backed government is based. Looting and neglect have made the situation fragile and armed groups have exploited the unrest. Even local bottled water in a country which sits on Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves has become contaminated. If the damage does not get fixed, there could be a “sudden, unexpected, uncontrollable and un-prepared for” shutdown of the main water pipeline system.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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