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Management of Groundwater in the Lake Chad Basin

Lake Chad is a tropical lake with related wetlands, shared by Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and managed by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC). This lake is a resource of great strategic, economic, social and environmental importance and needs good management by the mentioned countries to reduce its overexploitation and its impact.

​Over the course of the last 100 years the lake area has significantly varied in size from over 22,000 km2 in 1960 to about 1,700 km2 in January 1985, but has since that time increased again to an average of approximately 8,000 km2 during the 2000-2015 period. The Lake’s size variability is explained by rainfall variations over its basin, particularly over the basin of the Chari-Logone River, which accounts for about 85 per cent of water inflows to the Lake and by existing exploitation.

A workshop organized by the World Bank, UNESCO and the LCBC took place on 22-24 May at UNESCO-Paris, bringing together more than 30 specialists from different international organizations with experience in the African region, with the objective to join forces to develop and update knowledge of the groundwater of Lake Chad. Among these experts were researchers Lucila Candela (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) and Francisco J. Elorza (Polytechnic University of Madrid), both collaborators of IMDEA Water Institute.

IMDEA Water will develop a study, led by Prof. Lucila Candela, to update a groundwater model that will serve as a tool for LCBC and member states of the African region to better manage water resources.

This study will be carried out in several phases including the reformulation of the existing conceptual model including new information and other technical aspects such as satellite imagery (in collaboration with Princeton and Kansas Universities) and, especially, to adapt the model to the objectives and compliance with the Water Charter, which aims to promote sustainable development in the basin through an integrated and coordinated management of water resources.