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Multinational - Lake Chad Basin Sustainable Development Programme (Prodebalt) - Project Completion Report
The drastic shrinking of the surface area of Lake Chad, noted over the past decades, has led to the disruption of farmlands and a decrease in fish production. The surface area of the lake has dropped from 25 000 square kilometres to 2 500 square kilometres over 45 years and its depth from 6 metres on average to less than 3 metres currently. The volume of the lake was 60 billion cubic metres and depth 281.5 metres. It is currently estimated at 46 billion cubic metres due to silting and sedimentation of solid material transported from its basin by wind and runoff. The drying-up of the lake and deterioration of the production capacity of its basin have affected all socio-economic activities, leading to internal exodus, increased pressure on natural resources and conflicts between communities. In addition to the approximately 60% decline in fish production, there has been degradation of pasture lands, leading to shortage of dry matter estimated at 46.5% in certain places in 2006, reduction in the livestock population, and threat to biodiversity. Climate change has resulted in reduced surface flows by 20% to 50%, the decline in groundwater level, the silting of riverbeds, the proliferation of invasive aquatic plants, which are at the same time the cause and effect of sedimentation since they grow as a result of reduced hydraulicity of streams. At the current rate of recession of the water body, the Lake could disappear about twenty years from now, according to certain climate forecasts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).