Lake Chad is the fourth largest lake in Africa and an inland freshwater lake located at the junction of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, in the center of the Chad Basin. Lake Chad is formed by a partial depression of the continent and is the remnant of the Quaternary ancient Chad Sea.
The surface area of Lake Chad changes with the seasons. It can reach 22,000 square kilometers in the rainy season and may shrink by more than half in the dry season. The lake's water level will also change accordingly, with an annual variation of 0.6 to 0.9 meters.
The original area of Lake Chad was large, with grasslands and deserts on three sides of the lake and forests and hills only on the west bank. Although Lake Chad is located in the tropics, the climate is not too hot due to the high terrain and the adjustment of the lake water. It can be regarded as a crystal and beautiful pearl on the African continent.
Lake Chad Introduction
Lake Chad is the most precious expanse of water in the Sahara's boundless sand sea. "Chad" means water in the local language. The name of the Republic of Chad is named after this lake. Lake Chad is situated in an interior basin formerly occupied by a much larger ancient sea that is sometimes called Mega-Chad. The Lake Chad region was once a fertile soil that nourished all things. However, drastic changes in climate and increasing human activities have drastically reduced the size of Lake Chad, triggering an ecological disaster.
Lake Chad, a water source for millions of people in West Africa, has shrunk by nine-tenths. These ecological disasters have not only hit the agricultural and animal husbandry and fishery activities in this area but also promoted the spread of extremist ideas in the local area. The Lake Chad area now seems to have become the most important source of the "Boko Haram" terrorist organization and has even been called "Death Heart."
Lake Chad is an international lake bordered by four countries: Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The basin area is 1 million square kilometers. The water source of Lake Chad comes from precipitation and river water. The average annual rainfall in the lake area is 200 to 500 mm. The main source of water supply is the Shari River, accounting for 2/3 of the total supply, followed by the Komadouguyobé River, the Ngada River, the Mbli River, and the Fulbever River. There is no water flow out of Lake Chad, and part of the lake water seeps into groundwater or evaporates.
Lake Chad Size
Historically, Lake Chad has ranked among the largest lakes in Africa, though its surface area varies greatly by season and year. Lake Chad has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s due to climate change, population increase, and unplanned irrigation. According to the latest hydrological data, Lake Chad covers an area of 1,540 sq km (590 sq mi), with the average depth of 1.5 meters (4 feet 11 inches), and its deepest point measures only 11 meters (36 feet).
Close to 179 fish species can be found in Lake Chad, and the lake is home to 85 species, including 25 endemic species. The lake hosts over 44 algae species and is currently the world's largest producer of wild Spirulina. Wetland grasses on the shores of the lake include red rice, black vetiver grass, and barnyard grass. Lush reeds and papyrus grow in the shallow water area around Lake Chad. They are the raw materials for weaving daily necessities and handicrafts and the first-class raw materials for papermaking. Salt and trona are produced along the coast, providing raw materials for developing the chemical industry.
The hydrologic contributions and biological diversity of Lake Chad are important regional assets. Due to the persistent drought and strong evaporation, the lake is shrinking. Due to the heat and lack of rainfall, groundwater has become an important water source for residents and livestock in the surrounding arid areas. The four governments are trying to find a solution to the drying lake, including the possibility of channeling water from the 2,400-km-long Ubangi River in DR Congo.