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Water use

In 2000, the total water withdrawal was estimated at 4 268 million m³, of which 83 percent was withdrawn for agricultural purposes, 14 percent for municipal purposes and 3 percent for industrial purposes. More than 30 percent of the municipal water demand was supplied by the Great Manmade River Project (GMRP). In 2012, the total water withdrawal is estimated at 5 830 million m³, including 4 850 million m³ or 83 percent for agriculture, 700 million m³ or 12 percent for municipalities and 280 million m³ or 5 percent for industries (Table 5 and Figure 1).

Groundwater (including fossil groundwater) provides over 95 percent of the water withdrawn or 5 500 million m³ in 2012 (Figure 2). The remaining is divided between surface water, with a total controlled volume of 170 million m³/year (CEDARE, 2014), desalinated water and wastewater. The National Strategy for Sustainable Development of 2008 considered that a “sustainable” groundwater abstraction should not exceed 3 650 million m³/year, despite only 650 million m³/year comes from renewable groundwater and 3 000 million m³/year actually comes from fossil water–from the Jefara plains (25 million m³), the Jabal al-Akhdar (25 million m³), the Kufra and Sarir (1 300 million m³), the Hamada (150 million m³) and the Murzuq (1 500 million m³). Due to the fact that fossil groundwater is not included in the renewable water resources, the current water withdrawal is more than 8 times the annual renewable water resources. More than half of the domestic water supplies in 2012 were from the Great Manmade River Project (MWR and CEDARE, 2012).

In rural areas people depend to a large extent on private water supply wells, rainwater reservoirs, and springs. A large number of industries, such as the chemical, petrochemical, steel, textile and power generation industries, depend on private sources for water supply, including desalination of seawater.


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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