The University of Arizona

The disappearance of Lake Chad: history of a myth

Géraud Magrin

Abstract


The article explores the hydropolitics of Lake Chad. Scientific and popular views on the fate of Lake Chad differ widely. The supposed 'disappearance' of the Lake through water abstraction and climate change is a popular myth that endures because it serves a large set of heterogeneous interests, including those supporting inter-basin water transfers. Meanwhile scientific investigations show substantial and continuing Lake level fluctuations over time, and do not support its projected disappearance. The task is to understand how the myth of the disappearing Lake has been engendered and used, by studying the discourses and the strategies of the main stakeholders involved. The Lake has been protected so far from massive water abstraction, and inter-basin transfer projects, due to the fragmentation of its political management, new security threats, and the piecemeal nature of the interests in play.

Key words: Lake Chad; environmental myths; hydropolitics; political ecology; inter-basin transfers


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v23i1.20191