Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Billie Li makes this connection in Lagos, Nigeria. This current event was reported in Mercy Corps News on December 22, 2016, under the title, What You Need to know about the hunger crisis in the lake chad region, by Tom Saater. Another source is here.

The Lake Chad Water Basin is the main source of water to 30 million people from several different countries (Mercy Corps). This is an example of sub discipline sustainable resource management of water resources engineering. In order for this water basin to continue its role as a natural reservoir it must maintain a certain volume. This water is used for drinking water, hygienic water, and water for agriculture. It is important that we recognize The Lake Chad Region is just one example of humanitarian crisis that will happen in the near future if we do not improve our water resources engineering practices as we begin to face the effects of climate change causing scarcity of water. This article should include a break down of the current volume of the water basin, how much is consumed, and information about precipitation in the area.

Figure1. Remote sensing image of changing water volume of Lake Chad Water Basin via http://www.mdpi.com

“A combination of climate change, demographic pressures, human activity, and mismanagement of the remaining water resources has created what the UN describes as an ‘ecological catastrophe’.” – Ayo Obe, Environmental Degradation, Climate Change and Conflict: The Lake Chad Basin Area. It is a situation with the chicken and the egg in Nigeria; Boko Haram rose to power indirectly out of socio-political strife due to lack of clean water and food scarcity. “In the Lake Chad Basin, drought and massive displacement due to violence from Boko Haram are converging to create a severe humanitarian crisis. Boko Haram’s cycle of violence has uprooted and displaced 2.4 million people near the already fragile and drought-afflicted Lake Chad water basin, which includes portions of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.” (Mercy Corps) . With the influx of more people, and lack of water resources engineering implementation, people of this area are stretching already scarce resources beyond the breaking point. This situation directly affects the socio-economic livelihood of millions of people. The immense intake of the water in this basin not only lessens the access for human use, agriculture and hygienic use of water, but results in environmental degradation of the land surrounding the basin. It is being observed to hastily growing arid due to lack of precipitation. Water and Agriculture: Facing Water Scarcity and Environmental Challenges published by CIGR journal Discusses the possible solutions to issues that parallel with the case of Lake Chad Water Basin. In this journal they analyze consumption, areas of waste, and practices that could address these issues. There is not enough information provided in the articles I am reporting on to directly relate these solutions to, but a general direction and idea of what needs to be done can be drawn.

Figure2. Pathways to improve water uses by recognizing how water is used

References

Quick facts: What you need to know about the hunger crisis in the Lake Chad region. Mercy Corps. https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/niger-nigeria/quick-facts-what-you-need-know- about-hunger-crisis-lake-chad-region. Published December 22, 2016. Accessed March 3, 2017.

Group C. Environmental Degradation, Climate Change and Conflict: The Lake Chad Basin Area: The Future of Conflict Medium. Published October 27, 2015. Accessed March 3, 2017.

S. Pereira. “Water and Agriculture: Facing Water Scarcity and Environmental Challenges”. Agricultural Engineering International: the CIGR Journal of Scientific Research and Development. Invited Overview Paper. Vol. VII. February 2005.

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