【The 25th ASC Seminar】Inter-basin water transfer: From the Congo basin to Lake Chad: Challenges and opportunities
Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:40 pm - 7:10 pm
Date & Time: Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:40 pm - 7:10 pm
Venue: Room 317, Research and Lecture Building, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Speaker: Dr. Raymond Lumbuenamo(Professor, University of Kinshasa and Unesco Regional School of Tropical Forest and Land Management (ERAIFT) / Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank)
Theme: Inter-basin water transfer: From the Congo basin to Lake Chad: Challenges and opportunities
Professor Raymond Lumbuenamo, of the University of Kinshasa and UNESCO Regional School of Tropical Forest and Land Management and, a Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist of the World Bank, on the invitation by the Africa Studies Center at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, delivered a public lecture on the theme: "Inter-Basin Water Transfer: From the Congo Basin to Lake Chad, Challenges and Opportunities."
In his opening statement, Professor Lumbuenamo expatiated that over the past 50 years, the Lake Chad has lost 90 percent of its waters. He also referenced Sub-Saharan Africa generally that, of the 800 million people, 300 million live in a water stressed environment. As regards the Lake Chad crisis, Professor Lumbuenamo allotted the cause of its occurrence on two factors. On the natural cause, he stated that desert advancement and climate change has impacted notably on prolonged drought and declining rainfall since 1973. On other hand, the human cause which he termed "Anthropogenic Causes," emanate from each riparian country deciding unilaterally to build dams on rivers that feed the lake and diverting water away, which has resulted into over 50 percent of the lake waters been diverted.
For example, he mentioned that, Chari-Logoe River which contributes to more than 80 percent of the Lake Chad water, was drastically altered after Chad built dams and dikes on the Logon in 1970 and diverted two third of its waters; Nigeria built three dams and is planning a fourth on the Komadugu-Yode River Basin which contributes two and half percent of the Lake Chad water, and Nigeria also built dam on the Yedsaram-Ngadda River in Borno.
Professor Lumbuenamo identifies Cameroon, Niger, Central African Republican (CAR), Chad and Nigeria as the main actors leading to these brewing crisis, with each having an appreciable proportion of access to the territory in question.
Amidst the aforementioned, Professor Lumbuenamo asserted that, there is a growing consensus that Sahel is re-greening compared to the 1980s and this trend is due to the increase in rainfall in the region. He also mentioned about the Lake Chad replenishment project called the "Transaqua Project," which was meant to build a 2400 km canal to collect five percent of the waters of northern tributaries of the Congo River, fifty to hundred billion cubic meters of water per year to restore Lake Chad to its original surface, as well as ends desertification, develop agriculture in the region and generates substantial amount of hydropower. However, Professor characterized it as part of a series of dams and a continuous channel dug at constant attitude.
In his conclusion, he mentioned that the question of transferring water from the Ubangi to the lake Chad must take into account the maintenance of the Congo Basin Forest Cover, the biodiversity of the Congo River and its tributaries, the decrease in the amplitude of the water flow variation, the preservation of peatlands, the inland waterways and the welfare of the residents, etc. He therefore, suggested the solar option which would not require a dam construction and therefore will not generate flooding, low environmental hard, cost effective in solar panel installations, no displacement, 3000km2 of water surface of Lake Chad will be installed in a year and the cost for the installation of the solar panels would be much more less than the Transaqua's cost.