Lake Chad Shrinking

Posted May 27th, 2011 at 5:58 pm (UTC+0)
Leave a comment

Water may be the world’s most precious resource. But in many parts of the world it is a dwindling resource.  One of the most dramatic examples of this is in Africa, where Lake Chad is now a twentieth of what it once was.

NASA has a bird’s-eye view – make that a satellite’s eye view – of the lake from 40 years ago, and a series of other photographs showing its not so gradual decline since then.

NASA Satellite Image

NASA Satellite Image

The once thriving body of water touches the shores of five countries – Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic (CAR) and Niger. It has always been somewhat shallow and would rise and fall with the seasons, going from a few meters to about eight during the rainy season.

However, rainfall in the region has fallen since the 1960’s and an increase in agricultural production has siphoned off much of the water from the rivers that would normally fill the lake. Local populations also blame climate change for the lake’s decline, saying it’s hotter and drier than it used to be.

The countries closest to the lake formed the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in 1964, and there are numerous organizations trying to help save the lake from completely disappearing.  There are no easy answers, but a United Nations Environmental Program report says about 50 percent of the lake’s decline is from human water use, which includes major overgrazing in the region, as well as what it called “large and unsustainable irrigation projects.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


What’s Living Green?

The health of the environment is a concern to everyone, regardless of country, income or political viewpoint.  In this blog, we’ll explore all aspects of the environment – its biggest challenges and what people are doing to help resolve issues like land and water use, pollution and deforestation.  We’ll also highlight new technologies that could one day help alleviate many of the environmental problems the world is facing.  We welcome your comments and hope you’ll join in the conversation on Living Green.


May 2011
    Jun »