Regenerating Ancient Water

A green infrastructure pilot project in Gharyan, Libya

Reviving an oasis and harvesting water on an individual and community scale, through traditional, innovative natural solutions in water retention and erosion control

This global partnership between the Rio Puerco Alliance, permaculture and erosion control experts, and community members and officials of Gharyan will apply scalable watershed restoration, community outreach, and stormwater and graywater harvesting techniques to improve water retention and ecosystem health. This innovative project will bring specialties and restoration techniques together from across the globe, for landscapes and communities that share climatological, geologic, and more unifying factors!

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Project Area

Dry and erosive landscapes around the pilot project area of Gharyan show the need for targeted erosion control: techniques which when employed and paired with widespread education and awareness programming, will lead to sustainable and widespread practice of water harvesting and retention in communities across the country.

Gharyan (El-Qabel) is a city in northwestern Libya, in Jabal al Gharbi District, located 70 km south of Tripoli.

Population: 200,000

Climate: Gharyan experiences a hot semi-arid climate with blazing summers and cold winters – overall, it sees a cooler climate a dozen millimetres more precipitation than Libya's capital city.

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Challenges and Opportunities

With a largely arid climate, communities across Libya saw an 80% ratio of water withdrawals to supply in 2019 – highlighting the need for innovative, creative, and site-specific techniques for water retention and harvesting to ensure sufficient quantity for human and vegetation consumption. Nearly all annual runoff evaporates due to Libya’s dry climate, and depletion of nonrenewable aquifers is highly unsustainable long term.

93% of the land get less than 100 mm of rain per year, and with an average annual rainfall of 26 mm per km squared, infrastructure must be improved to safely and sustainably harvest the stormwater – both in urban and rural settings, and preventing erosion and floods.

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