Recharging the Lake Chad: the Hydropolitics of National Security and Regional Integration in Africa
AbstractLake Chad, the 6th largest lake in the world, has hydrographical basin area of 2,381,631 km2 , an active basin of 966,955km2; it is a source of fresh water, fisheries, pastoral and agricultural land in Algeria, Cameroun, CAR, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan with a population of 30 million spread across. Lake Chad is under the threat of climatic change. It has reduced from 25,000km2 1963 to 2,000km2 in 2010. According to the President of Nigeria, this lake may disappear within 20 years. Desiccation of Lake Chad has various consequences on hydrological regimes, water pollution, biodiversity, ecosystem, sedimentation, security, livelihood, regional stability, etc. These consequences are mostly felt in Nigeria. In an effort to overcome these problems, the concept of TRANSAQUA was muted to transfer water from the Congo basin. This involves the construction of 2,500km navigable channel from the Ubangi River in the Congo basin to recharge the lake. Indeed, a recharge of the lake will not only make the basin more active, it will facilitate navigation, generate electricity, regulate river regime, clear land lockedness, re-establish fishery and irrigation, promote poverty alleviation, mitigate drought, and check desertification. All these will facilitate economic development and enhance regional integration. This paper makes a case for water recharge in Lake Chad basin, studies IBWT project in the Lake Chad region and analyses its implication on Nigeria and Africa South of Sahara.
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