Hydrogeology of Libya

From Earthwise
Revision as of 17:46, 19 March 2018 by Beod (talk | contribs) (→‎General)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Hydrogeology by country >> 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

The Africa Groundwater Atlas is hosted by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and includes information from third party sources. Your use of information provided by this website is at your own risk. If reproducing diagrams that include third party information, please cite both the Africa Groundwater Atlas and the third party sources. Please see the Terms of use for more information.

Geographical Setting

Libya. Map developed from USGS GTOPOPO30; GADM global administrative areas; and UN Revision of World Urbanization Prospects. For more information on the map development and datasets see the geography resource page.


Capital city Tripoli
Region Northern Africa
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


Koppen Geiger Climate ZonesAverage Annual PrecipitationAverage Temperature

Average monthly precipitation for Libya showing minimum and maximum (light blue), 25th and 75th percentile (blue), and median (dark blue) rainfall Average monthly temperature for Libya showing minimum and maximum (orange), 25th and 75th percentile (red), and median (black) temperature Quarterly precipitation over the period 1950-2012 Monthly precipitation (blue) over the period 2000-2012 compared with the long term monthly average (red)

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.

Surface water

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.

Major surface water features of Libya. Map developed from World Wildlife Fund HydroSHEDS; Digital Chart of the World drainage; and FAO Inland Water Bodies. For more information on the map development and datasets see the surface water resource page.


Soil Map of Libya, from the European Commission Joint Research Centre: European Soil Portal. For more information on the map see the soil resource page.

Land cover

Land Cover Map of Libya, from the European Space Agency GlobCover 2.3, 2009. For more information on the map see the land cover resource page.


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).

Geology of Libya at 1:5 million scale. Developed from USGS map (Persits et al. 2002). For more information on the map development and datasets see the geology resource page.


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).

Libya Hydrogeology.png Hydrogeology Key.png

Transboundary aquifers

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.

Return to the index pages

Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Hydrogeology by country >> Hydrogeology of Libya