The Famous Lake Chad

Lake Chad

If you have never traveled to places where there is little or no rainfall, you would never believe that water containing aquatic animals can be found in desert areas. Lake Chad is one of those places.

Formation of a lake

One of the mysteries of nature is the formation of the lake. A lake is a body of slow-moving freshwater surrounded by land. Lakes primarily get their source of water from the stream or river.

Lake chad

Lakes are formed from areas of low depression. This depression results from regions where the rocks provide the least resistance or where glacier melts and is filled with water. There are many lakes around the world. In Africa, one such famous lake is Lake Chad. This lake is a large shallow freshwater lake located in the Sahel region of West-Central Africa.


Lake Chad was named after the country Chad. The name was derived from the local name Chad which means an area filled with ample water. In the Saharan area 5000BC ago, the largest lake called Mega-Lake covered a vast expanse of land. It was estimated to cover about 1,000,000km2.

The Mega-Lake has dried up to smaller circumference sizes due to high evaporation, low humidity, and human activity, such as cattle rearing.


Lake Chad is situated in the Western area of Chad, Northern areas of Cameroun, Southern part of Niger, and Northern area of Nigeria.

Water inflow and outflow

The majority of the water flows into Lake Chad by the tributary of Lagone from the Chari River. The Yobe River in Nigeria/Niger provides the remaining tiny fraction of water.

This lake does not have an outlet where water flows out. However, water percolates by moving slowly into the porous depression of Saro and Bodele ( lowest depth of Chad, which contains dust).


The size is about 26,000 square kilometers and a depth of about 10.5 meters (34 feet). It has a surface area (circumference) of about 1,350 km2, surface elevation of about 278-286 meters (912-938 ft). The volume of water it can hold is about 72km3 (17cubic centimeters). The importance of water fluctuates seasonally because of flooding.

Over 40 million people live around lake chad

A research report published in the year 2000 suggests that Lake Chad’s size has reduced to about 1,500km2 (580 sq mi). In 2001, a climatologist at the University of Maiduguri confirmed the research claims about the size.

How to control desertification of lake chad

Proper damming and efficient establishment irrigation methods are the ways of controlling the lake’s desertification. These control measures were recommended by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Lake Chad Basic Commission (LCBC).

Another environmental body called World Wildlife Fund (WWF), whose main aim is conservation reported that water channeling from Lake Chari River for irrigation projects and dams in Northeastern Nigeria is a significant factor contributing to the shrinkage of the lake Basin.”

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