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Study: Niger to suffer from the shrinking Lake Chad
Niger, Lake Chad is a very critical water resource in the African region and it is shrinking at an alarming rate. This will be devastating blow for Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon were as many as 30 million people depend on it.
Water from Lake Chad is used for agriculture, drinking water, water for livestock, fishing and countless other purpose. Two recent studies done by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and NASA both concluded that Lake Chad is at an extreme danger of vanishing in the next 20 years. The reasons of shrinking of Lake Chad have been many, the number one reason is the over utilization of this resource by humans. Overgrazing in the area has also lead to decreased vegetation and thus the region becomes more barren and desert like causing the shrinkage of Lake Chad even faster. This region has also suffered drought for several decades now, it is a natural cycle. Lake Chad supports a vast ecosystem of waterfowl, crocodiles, fish, shore birds and grazing animals.
Lake Chad is spread today in an area of about 1500 square miles, that is a clear 90% reduction when it was 25,000 square kilometers about 43 years back. Every year the water retreats further back and much of the land is reoccupied by humans. The amount of fish caught from Lake chad has fallen more than half within the last decade. Chari River is one of the main sources of water for the lake. There have been proposals to divert water from Ubangi River and let it flow into Lake Chad to save the region from disaster. United Nations is doing a feasibility study because mush of the funding from the project will come from them if this project is ever undertaken.
About 170 years back, Lake Chad was one of the biggest lakes of the world and no one could have imagined it's fate like it is today. Because of drought, the rainfall in the months of June, July and August has also decreased considerably. Foley and Michael Coe of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that while the drought has caused significant declines in water levels, human factors are mostly to blame for the present levels. In their paper, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Foley and Coe concluded that increased demands on the water resources flowing into the lake, and withdrawals from the lake itself, have prevented Lake Chad from returning to its pre-sixties size.
Prepared by Robert Reed
Open Media Group of Independent Reporters, In collaboration with
(http://www.saching.com, http://www.writearticles.org )