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Vol 55 No 9

Published 1st May 2014


How not to refill a lake

The Sahel’s only major body of water has shrunk to a fraction of its former size but one plan to save the lake is fraught with controversy

Lake Chad once sustained a large population through irrigation and fishing in Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Nigeria. Now, just a tenth of its former size, it is only a small lake straddling the Chad-Cameroon border. With climate change accelerating desertification, regional governments are desperate for a solution. Most controversial is an idea first mooted by Italian engineers in 1929 – when geo-transformative projects like vast canals, dams and wetland drainage were all the rage – to channel a section of the Oubangui River towards the dwindling Lake Chad.

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