Water Problems in Africa

Water Control, Impacts and Sub-Regional Cooperation Around a Transboundary Hydrological System - The Case of the Kayanga/Geba Catchment Area: (Guinea, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau)

Water Control, Impacts and Sub-Regional Cooperation Around a Transboundary Hydrological System - The Case of the Kayanga/Geba Catchment Area: (Guinea, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau)


Saly Sambou, Rene Ndimag Diouf and Joseph Sarr

Submitted: May 16th, 2022 Reviewed: June 3rd, 2022 Published: February 20th, 2023

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.105698


River Basin ManagementUnder a Changing ClimateEdited by Ram L. Ray



River Basin Management

Edited by Ram L. Ray, Dionysia G. Panagoulia and Nimal Shantha Abeysingha

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The Kayanga/Geba river basin is a transboundary basin shared between Guinea, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. It concentrates important natural resources, notably water resources on which Senegal and Guinea-Bissau are particularly dependent. The drastic reduction of these water resources due to rainfall variability and climate change has had an impact on agricultural production in the basin; hence the hydro-agricultural developments, in Senegalese territory, boost socio-economic activities by increasing productivity in both the rainy and dry seasons. The negative effects of these developments go beyond administrative boundaries. The transboundary management of this basin is a real challenge because the dams built in Senegal do not have the legal status of common dams of the OMVG whose mission is to promote cooperation between its member states. This article first analyses water control and some of the negative impacts of hydro-agricultural developments, and then the cooperation initiatives that the OMVG is trying to implement for rational and harmonious exploitation of the common resources of this basin.

1. Introduction

The catchment area becomes transboundary when it extends between two or more countries [1]. In addition to being numerous in West Africa, transboundary watersheds are often the primary water resources of the countries that border them [2]. The transboundary situation of these basins causes a fundamental problem when considering the management of shared natural resources. In many cases, an ecosystem divided by a political-administrative boundary is managed in a fragmented and sometimes contradictory way by the states that share it. This is due to the fact that sometimes states have different political priorities and environmental regulations [3].

At the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, recurrent dry spells and climate change severely impacted agricultural production in the Kayanga/Geba basin, where the essential part of the population’s income traditionally comes from rainfed crops in the uplands and rice cultivation in the lowlands, in addition to the livestock. To overcome this problem, the state of Senegal has adopted policies for the development and management of water resources in order to improve water management, boost socio-economic activities by increasing agricultural productivity, both in the rainy season and in the off-season, and promote local development [45]. This is how the Agricultural and Industrial Development Company of Senegal (SODAGRI in French) created in 1974, was entrusted with the management of the three phases of the development of the Anambe basin, the central part of which is a vast flood basin of almost 16,000 ha [6]. The Anambe is the main tributary of the Kayanga/Geba in Senegal. The developments are for hydro-agricultural and pastoral purposes with integration of agriculture, livestock, and continental fishing. In total, two dams have been built for this purpose in addition to the one set up by the Local Small Scale Irrigation Support Project (PAPIL in French).

In Guinea-Bissau, no hydro-agricultural development has been carried out. The Kayanga/Geba and Koliba/Corubal rivers are the main source of surface water in this country. It shares the Koliba/Corubal with Guinea. The other rivers are deeply penetrated by the tide.

The developments in the Senegalese part of the basin may run counter to the benefits that can be derived from harmonious use of water resources and cooperative management at the scale of the hydrological system. Because managing at this scale means ultimately taking advantage of the comparative advantages of each part of the hydrological system and respecting its total productive capacity [2]. This article aims to analyse water control and transboundary cooperation around the Kayanga/Geba river basin. It is a modest contribution to the analysis of the challenges of transboundary basin management in West Africa.

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