|Primary inflows||Chari River|
|Primary outflows||Soro and Bodélé depressions|
|Basin countries||Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria|
|Surface area||1,540 km2 (590 sq mi) (2020)|
|Average depth||1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)|
|Max. depth||11 m (36 ft)|
|Water volume||6.3 km3 (1.5 cu mi)|
|Shore length1||650 km (400 mi)[ citation needed ]|
|Surface elevation||278 to 286 metres (912 to 938 ft)|
|Official name||Lac Tchad|
|Designated||17 June 2001|
|Official name||Partie tchadienne du lac Tchad|
|Designated||14 August 2001|
|Official name||Lake Chad Wetlands in Nigeria|
|Designated||30 April 2008|
|Official name||Partie Camerounaise du Lac Tchad|
|Designated||2 February 2010|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Lake Chad (French: Lac Tchad) is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in central Africa, which has varied in size over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank by as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998. The lowest area was in 1986, at 279 km2 (108 sq mi), but "the 2007 (satellite) image shows significant improvement over previous years." Lake Chad is economically important, providing water to more than 30 million people living in the four countries surrounding it (Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria) on the central part of the Sahel. It is the largest lake in the Chad Basin.
The freshwater lake is located in the Sahelian zone of West-central Africa. It is located in the interior basin which used to be occupied by a much larger ancient sea sometimes called Mega Chad. The lake is historically ranked as one of the largest lakes in Africa. Its surface area varies by season as well as from year to year. Lake Chad is mainly in the far west of Chad, bordering on northeastern Nigeria.
The Chari River, fed by its tributary the Logone, provides over 90% of the lake's water, with a small amount coming from the Yobe River in Nigeria/Niger. Despite high levels of evaporation, the lake is fresh water. Over half of the lake's area is taken up by its many small islands (including the Bogomerom Archipelago), reedbeds and mud banks, and a belt of swampland across the middle divides the northern and southern halves. The shorelines are largely composed of marshes. The Lake Chad flooded savannas surround the lake, including permanently and seasonally-flooded grasslands, savannas, and woodlands.
Because Lake Chad is very shallow—only 10.5 metres (34 ft) at its deepest—its area is particularly sensitive to small changes in average depth, and consequently it also shows seasonal fluctuations in size. Lake Chad has the Bahr el-Ghazal (wadi in Chad) outlet, but its waters percolate into the Soro and Bodélé depressions. The climate is dry most of the year, with moderate rainfall from June through September.
Lake Chad gave its name to the country of Chad. The name Chad is derived from the Kanuri word "Sádǝ" meaning "large expanse of water". 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi), larger than the Caspian Sea is today, and may have extended as far northeast as within 100 km (62 mi) of Faya-Largeau. At its largest extent the river Mayo Kébbi represented the outlet of the paleolake Mega-Chad, connecting it to the Niger River and the Atlantic. This lowest point on the basin's rim now stands at about 320 meters above sea level, meaning that even if Lake Chad were to refill to its largest extent it would still be at the most only about 50 meters deep. The presence of African manatees in the inflows of Lake Chad is an evidence of the overflow history, since the manatee is otherwise only in rivers connected to the Atlantic Ocean (i.e. it is not possible that it evolved separately in an enclosed Chad Basin). The grand scale of the Mayo Kébbi river course is also evidence of earlier overflow from Mega-Chad; the upstream catchment of today is far too small to have dug such a large channel.The lake is the remnant of a former inland sea, paleolake Mega-Chad, which existed during the African humid period. At its largest, sometime before 5000 BC, Lake Mega-Chad was the largest of four Saharan paleolakes, and is estimated to have covered an area of
Romans reached the lake in the first century of their empire. During the time of Augustus Lake Chad was still a huge lake and two Roman expeditions were performed in order to reach it: Septimius Flaccus and Julius Maternus reached the "lake of hippopotamus(as the lake was called by Claudius Ptolemaeus). They moved from coastal Tripolitania and passed near the Tibesti mountains. Both expeditions passed through the territory of the Garamantes, and were able to leave a small garrison on the "lake of hippopotamus and rhinoceros" after three months of travel in desert lands.
Lake Chad was first surveyed from shore by Europeans in 1823, and it was considered to be one of the largest lakes in the world then.In 1851, a party including the German explorer Heinrich Barth carried a boat overland from Tripoli across the Sahara Desert by camel and made the first European waterborne survey. British expedition leader James Richardson died just days before reaching the lake.
In Winston Churchill's book The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, published in 1899, he specifically mentions the shrinking of Lake Chad. He writes:
Altogether France has enough to occupy her in Central Africa for some time to come: and even when the long task is finished, the conquered regions are not likely to be of great value. They include the desert of the Great Sahara and wide expanses of equally profitless scrub or marsh. Only one important river, the Shari, flows through them, and never reaches the sea: and even Lake Chad, into which the Shari flows, appears to be leaking through some subterranean exit, and is rapidly changing from a lake into an immense swamp.
Lake Chad has shrunk considerably since the 1960s, when its shoreline had an elevation of about 286 metres (938 ft) above sea level and it had an area of more than 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 sq mi), making its surface the fourth largest in Africa. An increased demand on the lake's water from the local population has likely accelerated its shrinkage over the past 40 years.
The size of Lake Chad greatly varies seasonally with the flooding of the wetlands areas. In 1983, Lake Chad was reported to have covered 10,000 to 25,000 km2 (3,900 to 9,700 sq mi), had a maximum depth of 11 metres (36 ft), and a volume of 72 km3 (17 cu mi).
By 2000, its extent had fallen to less than 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi). A 2001 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research blamed the lake's retreat largely on overgrazing in the area surrounding the lake, causing desertification and a decline in vegetation. The United Nations Environment Programme and the Lake Chad Basin Commission concur that at least half of the lake's decrease is attributable to shifting climate patterns. UNEP blames human water use, such as inefficient damming and irrigation methods, for the rest of the shrinkage. As late as December 2014, Lake Chad was still sufficient in size and volume such that boats could capsize or sink. The European Space Agency has presented data in 2013 showing an actual increase in lake extent of Lake Chad between the years of 1985 to 2011.
Referring to the floodplain as a lake may be misleading, as less than half of Lake Chad is covered by water through an entire year. The remaining sections are considered as wetlands.
Lake Chad's volume of 72 km3 (17 cu mi) is very small relative to that of Lake Tanganyika (18,900 km3 (4,500 cu mi)), and Lake Victoria (2,750 km3 (660 cu mi)), African lakes with similar surface areas.
The lake is home to more than 44 species of algae. In particular it is one of the world's major producers of wild spirulina. The lake also has large areas of swamp and reedbeds. The floodplains on the southern lakeshore are covered in wetland grasses such as Echinochloa pyramidalis, Vetiveria nigritana , Oryza longistaminata , and Hyparrhenia rufa .
The entire Lake Chad basin holds 179 fish species, of which more than half are shared with the Niger River Basin, about half are shared with the Nile River Basin, and about a quarter are shared with the Congo River Basin.Lake Chad itself holds 85 fish species. Of the 25 endemics in the basin, only Brycinus dageti is found in the lake itself, and it is perhaps better treated as a dwarf subspecies of Brycinus nurse. This relatively low species richness and virtual lack of endemic fish species contrasts strongly with other large African lakes, such as Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi.
There are many floating islands in the lake. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, hippopotamus, crocodile (all in decline), and large communities of migrating birds including wintering ducks, ruff (Philomachus pugnax) and other waterfowl and shore birds. There are two near-endemic birds in the region, the river prinia (Prinia fluviatilis) and the rusty lark (Mirafra rufa). The shrinking of the lake is threatening nesting sites of the black-crowned crane (Balearica pavonina pavonina). During the wet season, fish move into the mineral-rich lake to breed and find food. Carnivores such as the Central African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii), the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) and the caracal (Felis caracal) used to inhabit areas surrounding the lake.
There is some debate over the mechanisms causing the lake's disappearance. The leading theory, which is most often cited by the UN, is that the unsustainable usage of the lake by both governments and local communities has caused the lake to be over-used, not allowing it to replenish.
A number of other theories exist, including sea surface temperature changes between the hemispheres or in the Indian ocean leading to oceanic forcing of rainfall patterns in the Sahel region. Another models anthropogenic sulfate emissions in the later 20th century and concludes that these could also be the cause of these rainfall patterns shifting farther south, thereby making the region drier and not allowing the lake to replenish. The implementation of new regulations concerning air pollutants may be responsible for the small increase of the lake size in recent years.
The only protected area is the Lake Chad Game Reserve, which covers half of the area next to the lake that belongs to Nigeria. The whole lake has been declared a Ramsar site of international importance.
Speaking at the United Nations 73rd General Assembly, the President of Nigeria urged the international community to assist in combatting the root causes of conflict surrounding the Lake Chad Endorheic basin. Recent violence in the region has been attributed to competition between farmers and herders seeking irrigation for crops and watering of herds respectively.
In September 2020, in order to explore oil and mining opportunities in the region, Chad's tourism and culture minister wrote to UNESCO, the body which awards the world heritage designation, asking to "postpone the process of registering Lake Chad on the world heritage list".
Plans to divert the Ubangi River into Lake Chad were proposed in 1929 by Herman Sörgel in his Atlantropa project and again in the 1960s. The copious amount of water from the Ubangi would revitalize the dying Lake Chad and provide livelihood in fishing and enhanced agriculture to tens of millions of central Africans and Sahelians. Interbasin water transfer schemes were proposed in the 1980s and 1990s by Nigerian engineer J. Umolu (ZCN scheme) and Italian firm Bonifica (the Transaqua canal scheme).
In 1994, the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) proposed a similar project, and at a March 2008 summit, the heads of state of the LCBC member countries committed to the diversion project.In April 2008, the LCBC advertised a request for proposals for a World Bank-funded feasibility study. Neighboring countries have agreed to commit resources to restoring the lake, notably Nigeria.
The CIMA (Canada) proposed project can be used as an inland waterway, as it uses the same water flow (100 m3/s) as the Moscow Canal.
The dwindling of the lake has had devastating impacts on Nigeria.Because of the way it has shrunk dramatically in recent decades, the lake has been labeled an ecological catastrophe by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Human population expansion and unsustainable human water extraction from Lake Chad have caused several natural species to be stressed and threatened by declining lake levels. For example, the decline or disappearance of the endangered painted hunting dog has been noted in the Lake Chad area.
The shrinking of the lake has also caused several different conflicts to emerge, as the countries bordering Lake Chad argue over the rights to the remaining areas of water. Along with international conflicts, violence between countries is also increasing among the lake's dwellers. Farmers and herders want the water for their crops and livestock and are constantly diverting the water,while the lake's fishermen want water diversion slowed or halted in order to prevent continuing decline in water levels resulting in further strain on the lake's fish. Furthermore, populations of birds and other animals in the area are threatened, including those that serve as important sources of food for the local human population.
Chad is one of the 48 landlocked countries in the world and is located in North Central Africa, measuring 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 sq mi), nearly twice the size of France and slightly more than three times the size of California. Most of its ethnically and linguistically diverse population lives in the south, with densities ranging from 54 persons per square kilometer in the Logone River basin to 0.1 persons in the northern B.E.T. (Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti) desert region, which itself is larger than France. The capital city of N'Djaména, situated at the confluence of the Chari and Logone Rivers, is cosmopolitan in nature, with a current population in excess of 700,000 people.
The Ubangi River, also spelled Oubangui, is the largest right-bank tributary of the Congo River in the region of Central Africa. It begins at the confluence of the Mbomou and Uele Rivers and flows west, forming the border between Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Subsequently, the Ubangi bends to the southwest and passes through Bangui, the capital of the CAR, after which it flows south – forming the border between Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo. The Ubangi finally joins the Congo River at Liranga.
Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in Kenya, outside the town of Naivasha in Nakuru County, which lies north west of Nairobi. It is part of the Great Rift Valley. The name derives from the local Maasai name Nai'posha, meaning "rough water" because of the sudden storms which can arise.
Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India located in state of Andhra Pradesh and forms the largest shallow freshwater lake in Asia, 15 kilometers away from the Eluru and 65 km from Rajamahendravaram, it is located between Krishna and Godavari deltas. Kolleru spans into two districts – Krishna and West Godavari. The lake is fed directly by water from the seasonal Budameru and Tammileru streams, and is connected to the Krishna and Godavari irrigation systems by over 67 major and minor irrigation canals. This lake is a major tourist attraction. Many birds migrate here in winter, such as Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks. The lake was an important habitat for an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds, including the grey or spot-billed pelican. The lake was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in November 1999 under India's Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and designated a wetland of international importance in November 2002 under the international Ramsar Convention. The wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 308 km2.
Lake Chilwa is the second-largest lake in Malawi after Lake Malawi. It is in eastern Zomba District, near the border with Mozambique. Approximately 60 km long and 40 km wide, the lake is surrounded by extensive wetlands. There is a large island in the middle of the lake called Chisi Island. The lake has no outlet, and the level of water is greatly affected by seasonal rains and summer evaporation. In 1968, the lake disappeared during exceptionally dry weather. When David Livingstone visited the lake in 1859, he reported that its southern boundary reached as far as the Mulanje Massif, which would have made the lake at least 32 kilometres (20 mi) longer than it is today.
Vembanad is the longest lake in India, as well as the largest lake in the state of Kerala. With an area of 2033 square kilometers, it is the second largest Ramsar site in India only after the Sunderbans in West Bengal. Spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known as Vembanadu Lake in Kottayam, Vaikom, Changanassery, Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha, Punnappra, Kuttanadu and Kochi Lake in Kochi. Several groups of small islands including Vypin, Mulavukad, Maradu, Udayamperoor, Vallarpadam, Willingdon Island are located in the Kochi Lake portion. Kochi Port is built around the Willingdon Island and the Vallarpadam island.
Lake Khanka or Lake Xingkai, is a freshwater lake on the border between Primorsky Krai, Russia and Heilongjiang province, Northeast China.
Lake Hāmūn or Hamoun Oasis is a seasonal lake and wetlands in endorheic Sīstān Basin on the Irano-Afghan border in the Sistan region. In Iran, it is also known as Hāmūn-e Helmand, Hāmūn-e Hīrmand, or Daryācheh-ye Sīstān.
The Hadejia-Nguru wetlands in Yobe State in northern Nigeria, which include Nguru Lake, are ecologically and economically important. They are threatened by reduced rainfall in recent years, a growing population and upstream dam construction.
The wildlife of Chad is composed of its flora and fauna. Animal and plant life correspond to the three climatic zones. In the Saharan region, the only flora is the date-palm groves of the oasis. Palms and acacia trees grow in the Sahelian region. The southern, or Sudanic, zone consists of broad grasslands or prairies suitable for grazing. As of 2002, there were at least 134 species of mammals, 532 species of birds, and over 1,600 species of plants throughout the country.
Lake Skadar – also called Lake Scutari, Lake Shkodër and Lake Shkodra – lies on the border of Albania and Montenegro, and is the largest lake in Southern Europe. It is named after the city of Shkodër in northern Albania. It is a karst lake.
The Malagarasi River is a river in western Tanzania, flowing through Kigoma Region, although one of its tributaries comes from southeastern Burundi. It is the second-longest river in Tanzania behind the Rufiji—Great Ruaha, and has the largest watershed of any river flowing into Lake Tanganyika. The Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands are a designated a Ramsar site. Local tribes have nicknamed the Malagarasi as "the river of bad spirits".
Lake Karla is a former lake that sits at 60 to 80 m above sea level making it the only one in the plain of Thessaly. The lake is located at the northern end of the Magnesia regional unit in the Pineios basin, adjacent to Pelion and the Maurovouni mountains. On the eastern part of the lake the lies the town of Kanalia.
A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, although like the much larger oceans, they form part of Earth's water cycle. Lakes are distinct from lagoons which are generally coastal parts of the ocean. They are generally larger and deeper than ponds, which also lie on land, though there are no official or scientific definitions. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which are usually flowing in a channel on land. Most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.
Lake Gore is a seasonal and semi-permanent freshwater lake in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia located approximately 24 km (15 mi) west of Esperance. It is an important site for waterbirds.
The Lake Chad flooded savanna is a flooded grasslands and savannas ecoregion in Africa. It includes the seasonally- and permanently-flooded grasslands and savannas in the basin of Lake Chad in Central Africa, and covers portions of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
The Lake Chad Basin Commission is an intergovernmental organization that oversees water and other natural resource usage in the basin. There are eight member governments—i.e., Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, the Central African Republic, Libya, and Sudan—chosen for their proximity to Lake Chad.
The Lake Chad replenishment project is a proposed major water diversion scheme to divert water from the Congo River basin to Lake Chad to prevent it drying up. Various versions have been proposed. Most would involve damming some of the right tributaries of the Congo River and channeling some of the water to Lake Chad via a canal to the Chari River basin.
The Chad Basin is the largest endorheic basin in Africa, centered on Lake Chad. It has no outlet to the sea and contains large areas of semi-arid desert and savanna. The drainage basin is roughly coterminous with the sedimentary basin of the same name, but extends further to the northeast and east. The basin spans eight countries, including most of Chad and a large part of Niger. The region has an ethnically diverse population of about 30 million people as of 2011, growing rapidly.
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