The Mayor of Sebha, Belhaj Ali, highlighted the fuel shortage crisis in southern Libya, attributing it to insufficient supplies from the Sebha oil depot. He urged the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to address the deficit, emphasising the impact on residents and the region’s black market fuel prices.
Ali mentioned the struggle with high fuel costs, with petrol reaching 8.5 Libyan Dinars (LYD) per liter in southern areas. During a meeting with the Minister of Local Governance in the Government of National Unity (GNU), Ali revealed promises for increased fuel supply to the South.
The Mayor expressed concerns about cooking gas shortages during winter, with demand surges and black-market prices exceeding 100 LYD per cylinder. He disclosed that private sector involvement in gas distribution adds to the challenges faced in southern regions.
Additionally, Ali raised issues with sewage problems, affirming potential environmental disasters if sewage treatment stations are not provided. He highlighted the risk posed by an earth dam blocking water to the city, calling for immediate attention.
Regarding road infrastructure, Ali criticised the state’s inability to address the dire road conditions, particularly the hazardous routes connecting Sebha to other regions. He pointed out unattended buildings at risk of collapse and highlighted the residents’ pleas for attention.
Ali urged all relevant authorities to focus on the south, providing essential commodities and addressing citizens’ grievances in various sectors.
In another context, Libya is currently facing critical water stress, as highlighted in recent international reports. These underscore the alarming rate of groundwater depletion in Libya, where the scarcity of renewable water sources is a growing concern.
The situation is particularly acute in agriculture, which heavily relies on water usage, thereby threatening the nation’s food security. The southern regions of Libya are experiencing the most severe effects of this depletion.
Experts are advocating for the judicious management of water resources, to avert the depletion of water reserves. This call for action is underscored by the limited rainfall, and the prevalent use of outdated irrigation techniques in farming. In a significant assessment by the World Resources Institute, Libya was listed among the top 25 countries currently enduring extremely high water stress.
According to a United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) report, Libya leads the Arab world in per capita water consumption, with an average daily use of approximately 2,392 liters per person. This rate is nearly triple the average consumption in other Arab countries.
Environmental specialists and activists are raising alarms about the continuous water stress and its implications for the population, particularly given the scarcity of rainfall.
The crisis is intricately linked to its geographical and climatic conditions, predominantly arid and with minimal rainfall, Libya’s heavy dependence on finite groundwater resources is not sustainable, especially with the current consumption rates. The Great Man-Made River project, designed to transport water from the Sahara to populous coastal areas, is a reflection of Libya’s unique challenges in water management.
The crisis is further exacerbated by Libya’s political instability, which has impeded the development and maintenance of water management infrastructures. The lack of modern irrigation methods and water conservation strategies, is a major contributing factor to the crisis.
The repercussions of this water stress extend beyond environmental concerns, posing significant risks to food security and public health. Agriculture, a key component of Libya’s economy, is particularly at risk due to its dependence on water-intensive practices.