mercredi 25 mars 2009

Le projet pharaonique de la Lybie

La Libye est un pays aride, principalement désertique, dans lequel l'eau potable est perpétuellement rare. Les pluies sont minimales, seuls 5 % du pays reçoivent plus de 100 mm de pluies chaque année. La Libye s'est longtemps appuyée sur ses réserves souterraines pour s'approvisionner en eau mais la consommation a déjà réduit les sources et de nombreux aquifères souterrains de la côte sont devenus saumâtres suite à une infiltration d'eau de mer.

Au milieu des années 50, la recherche du pétrole dans le désert dans la partie Sud du pays a révélé l'existence d'une précieuse source et d'une apparente solution : une nappe d'eau fossile.

Profondément enfouie sous les sables du Sahara, d'anciens aquifères contiennent une eau pure vieille de plus de 40 000 ans.

Cette nappe s'est formée sous les climats d'autres ères et a été emprisonnée suite à des bouleversements géologiques. Comme les carburants fossiles créés sous des conditions qui n'existent plus depuis longtemps, cette «eau fossile» est une source d'un énorme potentiel mais non renouvelable.

Pour amener cette eau ancienne à la surface et la distribuer à la population, le gouvernement libyen a lancé le projet de la Grande rivière artificielle, projet d'une envergure enorme. Il s'agit d'un réseau de canalisations et réservoirs amenant l'eau des nappes souterraines du désert à la région côtière surpeuplée, pour un coût total estimé à 30 milliards de dollars US.

Financé par les revenus du pétrole, ce projet a commencé en 1984. La construction se poursuit aujourd'hui encore, mais la Grande rivière artificielle a déjà eu un impact important sur les nombreuses villes de la côte vivant actuellement de cette eau puisée des plus anciennes réserves du pays. Le principe est de puiser l'eau de 1300 puits dans le désert et à déplacer chaque jour 6,5 millions de mètres cube. L'eau est amenée aux robinets libyens par 4000 km de tuyaux d'un diamètre de 4 m.

Le projet est censé durer 50 ans, mais sa durée actuelle dépendra du rythme de pompage. En fait, personne ne sait combien d'eau les nappes phréatiques contiennent encore et cette source n'est pas renouvelable – quand elle sera épuisée ce sera pour toujours. Après un investissement si important, la Libye doit porter au maximum l'efficacité de l'emploi de cette eau goutte à goutte.

13 commentaires:

richard a dit…

La question du pompage de cette nappe est un cas d'école : qu'en sera-t-il quand cette nappe va être vidée ? Quelle est la durabilité du projet ?

C'est toute la crise de l'eau qui se retrouve ici, en condensé : urbanisation, surpopulation, sécheresse, surconsommation des nappes phréatiques, projets gigantesques, solution peu durable...

Bien sûr, bien malin celui qui détient une solution parfaitement durable pour résoudre ce problème : la solution est probablement dans la multiplication de multiples mesures (maîtrise de la consommation, amélioration des réseaux, technos comme le recyclage ou le dessalement, modification des méthodes industrielles et agricoles, etc.)

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