By Baba Kura Mallam, Maiduguri
The Lake Chad Basin Commission and a Chinese firm, POWERCHINA International Group have signed a $ 1.8 million Memorandum of Understanding to transfer water from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad Basin.
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, in a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Information and Public Relations, Margaret Umoh, said the expanded study done by the Chinese firm showed that it is technically feasible to transfer water from river Congo to Lake Chad thereby increasing the level of the lake.
According to the statement, the decision to transfer water to Lake Chad from the Congo basin was taken at the 14th Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission held in April to save the Chad from drying up.
Adamu, who is also the Chairman of Ministers of the Commission, stated the Chinese firm merely expanded the feasibility study earlier done by CIMA International in 2011.
He said the transfer of water would halt the receding of the lake and the drying up of the north basin due to climate change.
“The study has shown that the process can potentially transfer 50 billion m3 annually to the Chad Basin through a series of dams in Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic,” the statement said.
The Minister noted that the transfer of water project would take a long time to actualize due to the huge capital involved and its complexity.
He called for concerted efforts from all to see that the project is achievable as this would save the livehood of over 40 million people living within the basin.
Adamu also, signed a MoU with the same company to harness the Water Resources Master Plan in the area of hydropower and irrigation development.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice-President of the firm, 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 added that the company has agreed to fund the project to in order to make life more meaningful socially and economically to the people within the basin.
Hailua said with the transfer of water to the lake, there is the potential to develop a series of irrigated areas for crops and livestock of over an area of 50,000 to 70,000 km2 in the basin.