As part of efforts to improve livelihoods of about 40 million people living around the Lake Chad basin, Governments of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm, Powerchina International Group Limited to transfer water from the Congo Basin into the receding Lake Chad.
According to The Guardian, the project, which worth $1.8million, has the potential of developing series of irrigated areas for crops and livestock for over 50,000 to 70,000 square kilometres of Chad Basin Areas.
The Guardian reports that the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu; who doubles as Chairman of Ministers of the Commission, while signing the MoU last week in Abuja, disclosed that the memorandum of understanding; was to expand the feasibility study earlier carried out by CIMA International in 2011.
He said the transfer of water into the Lake Chad was a fall out of the 14th Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission of April, 2016 to save the lake from drying up.“With the expanded study done by Powerchina, it shows that it is technically feasible to transfer water from river Congo to Lake Chad; thereby increasing the level of the lake,” he said.
He added that it could also halt the receding of the lake and the drying of the north basin due to climate change.
The study also indicated that; the process can potentially transfer 50 Billion cubic metres of water annually into the Chad Basin through series of dams in three countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
The Minister, however, noted that the project is a generational one as it would take a long time to actualize due to the huge capital involved and the complexity of the project.
He, therefore, called for concerted efforts from all to see that the project is achieved, as this would save the livelihoods of over 40 million people living in the basin.
He also signed on behalf of the government of Nigeria, a MoU with the same company to harness the Water Resources Master Plan in the area of hydropower and irrigation development.
Vice-President of Powerchina, Mr. Tian Hailua said that the company is committing both technical and financial assistance towards the actualization of the water transfer to the lake.
He said the company has agreed to fund the project to the tune of $1.8million in order to make life more meaningful socially and economically to the people within the basin.