(ORDO NEWS) — In fact, there have been many plans to flood the Sahara, since large sections of the world‘s largest sandy desert are below sea level.
The Sahara Desert is a vast area covering about 9.2 million square kilometers across most of North Africa.
The idea of creating a sea in the middle of the Sahara first came from the Scottish engineer Donald Mackenzie, who wanted to flood the El Jouf basin, turning it into what he called the Sahara Sea.
He proposed creating a 644-kilometer-long canal from Morocco to the basin, thereby creating an inland sea of approximately 96,560 square kilometers.
In the 1870s, French army captain François-Elie Ruder was inspired by the completed Suez Canal to propose a 193-kilometer-long canal that would connect the Mediterranean to Chott el-Feij, a part of the Sahara Desert in southern Tunisia, thus flooding over 4,828 square kilometers of land.
The construction plan was approved by the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was famous for the large-scale work on the creation of the Suez Canal.
The cost of the project at that time was approximately 25 million francs. The idea was to open up more trade routes for French ships.
De Lesseps and his friends wanted to make the middle of North Africa a much wetter and more fertile place.
Despite Ruder’s work on the project, the plan never came to fruition, although several research trips to the area were funded.
Although the plan ultimately failed, it inspired author Jules Verne to include canal building in his 1905 novel Invasion of the Sea, in which a powerful earthquake creates an inland sea in North Africa.
Another plan to create a sea in the middle of the Sahara was proposed in Egypt.
The Plowshare project was proposed by the US Atomic Energy Commission for the “peaceful” use of nuclear bombs to create channels necessary to flood the Qattara Basin, located 60 meters below sea level.
However, the use of peaceful nuclear explosions was prohibited by several international treaties, and the Plowshare project was terminated in 1977.
There have been other attempts to create a sea in the Sahara desert, but most of them have not led to meaningful results.
One attempt was made in the 1970s by a group of Japanese engineers who intended to turn part of the desert into a body of water, using large welded slabs that they hoped would join together to form a giant rainwater basin.
Another attempt was made in 2007 by the American billionaire and philanthropist Paul Allen, who funded the construction of a megaproject called the Sea of the Sahara.
He envisioned the creation of a large reservoir capable of growing fish and even creating new tourist areas. However, the project was shelved in 2008 due to lack of funding.
In 2016, Morocco launched a new project called the Sahara Canal to redirect water from the Atlantic Ocean to the desert, but that project has also run into problems and delays.
It should be noted that in recent years, technologies for extracting water from air and salt water have become more efficient, which can help solve the problem of desert drought in the Sahara.
Despite this, creating a sea in the Sahara is still a complex and costly task that requires significant investment and technological solutions.
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