Kufra Oasis from space

Kufra Oasis from space

Kufra cultivated areas seen from space.

Kufra (Al-Kufrah) is a basin and oasis group in the Kufra District of southeastern Cyrenaica in Libya. It also played a minor role in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. In the middle of the Sahara Desert, Kufra is the driest point in Africa.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Libya launched in Kufra a great cultivation project aimed at developing agriculture in the desert. LEPA irrigation is provided by fossil water beneath the ground surface, the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System, a non-renewable source and the only accessible water resource in the area. Rotors (high sprinkler that rotates) provide irrigation and the obtained circles have a diameter of about 1 km and can be observed from space.

This is one of Libya’s largest agricultural projects. Because only about 2 percent of Libya’s land receives enough rainfall to be cultivated, this project uses the underground aquifer. The green circles in the desert frequently indicate tracts of agriculture supported by center-pivot irrigation. The agricultural project is an easy-to-recognize landmark for orbiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The Libyan government also has a project called the Great Manmade River to pump and transport these groundwater reserves to the coast to support Libya’s growing population and industrial development. As of December 2011, the excessive exploitation of the aquifer has provoked the complete drying up of the lake in the oasis. Photo: wikipedia

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