Hydrogeology of Libya
This page has limited information and needs to be updated. If you have more information on the hydrogeology of Libya, please get in touch!
Dr Kirsty Upton and Brighid Ó Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey, UK
Please cite this page as: Upton & Ó Dochartaigh, 2016.
Bibliographic reference: Upton, K. & Ó Dochartaigh, B.É. 2016. Africa Groundwater Atlas: Hydrogeology of Libya. British Geological Survey. Accessed [date you accessed the information]. http://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Hydrogeology_of_Libya
Terms and conditions
|Border countries||Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria, Tunisia|
|Total surface area*||2,000,000 km2 ( 200,000,000 ha)|
|Total population (2015)*||6,278,000|
|Rural population (2015)*||1,316,000 (21%)|
|Urban population (2015)*||4,962,000 (79%)|
|UN Human Development Index (HDI) [highest = 1] (2014)*||0.7245|
* Source: FAO Aquastat
More information on average rainfall and temperature for each of the climate zones in Libya can be seen at the Libya climate page.
These maps and graphs were developed from the CRU TS 3.21 dataset produced by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. For more information see the climate resource page.
There are no permanent rivers in Libya, only ephemeral rivers or wadis.
There are several natural desert lakes, which support unique ecosystems and provide a water supply to desert nomads and migrating animals (Abufayed et al. 2015). The main lakes are the Ubari lakes in the Ubari Sand Sea in the south, including the Gaberoun, Mandara and Mafo akes–, the protected Ouau en Namu lakes and the 23rd of July or Benghazi lake, which is more properly a lagoon.
The Qattara Depression in the north-west of Libya lies under the sea level and is covered with temporary lakes, salt pans and salt marshes. Other large salt pans include Sabkhat al Hayshah close to the coast near the gulf of Sidra, and Sabkhat Shunayn and Ghuzayyil in the north-east.
The geology map on this page shows a simplified version of the geology at a national scale (see the Geology resource page for more details).
The hydrogeology map below, at 1:5 million scale, shows the type and productivity of the main aquifers at a national scale (see the Hydrogeology map resource page for more details).
More information on the hydrogeology of Libya is available in the report United Nations (1988) (see References section, below).
For further information about transboundary aquifers, please see the Transboundary aquifers resources page.
References with more information on the geology and hydrogeology of Libya can be accessed through the Africa Groundwater Literature Archive.
Abdudayem A and Scott AHS. 2014. Water infrastructure in Libya and the water situation in agriculture in the Jefara region of Libya. African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, 3 (1).
Abufayed A, Madi L and Radi M. 2015. Libya State of the Water Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Framework and Guidelines. Report for CEDARE.
Sattar AMA and Gawad SA. 2014. North Africa Regional Water Sector M&E Rapid Assessment Report. Report for CEDARE.
United Nations. 1988. Groundwater in North and West Africa: Libya. United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development and Economic Commission for Africa.