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Lake Chad Leaders Bring Transaqua to UN General Assembly

Sept. 29, 2016 (EIRNS)—For the first time since the 1992 UN Rio conference, the Transaqua idea of replenishing Lake Chad and building a Central African system of waterways and dams was brought to a UN General Assembly. On Sept. 20, Nigerian President Buhari spoke at the UNGA and reiterated the need of solving the Lake Chad crisis through a water transfer project.

While world media are focused on hot spots such as Syria, the humanitarian crisis provoked by terrorist Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region has been worsening, as the UN reports it can raise only one-fourth of the money needed for emergency assistance. The Nigerian government is calling not only for military assistance against the terrorists, but also for help in addressing the roots of the poverty and the cause for the recruiting grounds for terrorists, namely the drying out of Lake Chad.

"The means of livelihood of an estimated 30 million inhabitants of the Lake Chad Basin, spread across Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, are being severely threatened,"

said President Buhari. "The cost of replenishing the lake has been put at 14 billion U.S. Dollars under a five year plan which should be accorded global attention. Nigeria also supports the African Union initiative on the Great Green Wall to halt desertification,"

President Buhari said.

On Sept. 22, the executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Committee, Abdullahi Sanusi, spoke at the side event "Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development," and described the Transaqua project as a proposed solution, the first time ever in a UNO framework since the 1992 Rio environment conference. Sanusio went into detail on the history of the drying up of Lake Chad and the dimensions of the crisis for the population in the region, and presented three proposed solutions.

"The TRANSAQUA idea was first developed by an Italian engineering firm Bonifica after the 1973 drought. Transaqua proposes to capture 5%—100 billion cubic meters of the Congo River’s 1.9 trillion cubic meters of water—that flows into the Atlantic Ocean each year, and instead redirect it north through a 2,400 km navigable canal east of the Congo River, northwest across the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) by gravity to meet the Chari River, which would release this additional volume of water into Lake Chad. Initially, it was viewed as diplomatically complex and expensive because it seeks to create a new platform of development in agricultural, industrial, transportation and electrical production affecting up to 12 African nations."

The other two proposals mentioned by Sanusi are: 1. Pumping water from the Ubangi River, a tributary of the Congo River; and 2. A variation of 1 using solar energy to power the pumps.

Experts interviewed by EIR consider both proposals as economically and environmentally unfeasible. The suspicion is that Western interests are pushing alternative, "cheaper" plans to sabotage Transaqua. Those plans are not going to work. For instance, the engineering firm itself, which has produced a feasibility study for the smaller Ubangi project, came to the conclusion that the water pumped from the Ubangi River is not sufficient to replenish Lake Chad, and suggested to integrate it with the last stage of the Transaqua canal, with an upstream dam at Bria!

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