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The Niger River and Water Resource Management

Author(s): An example of transboundary management
Congress: 2008
Author(s): Gilles Rocquelain, Bruno Voron, Guillaume Fabre
BRL, 1105 avenue Pierre Mendès France, 30001 Nîmes cedex 05 Tel. +33 466 87 50 00 ﷓ Fax. +33 466 87 51 03,,

Keyword(s): Water availability, use and management
AbstractConference talk Subject: Water availability, use and management Introduction Today there are 95 million people living in the Niger River basin. In 2025, there could be as many as 155 million. Their living conditions are under threat because the Niger is drying up and getting a fair share of water is one of the greatest challenges the nine riparian countries have ever had to face. The NBA (Niger Basin Authority) therefore launched a study process known as the "joint vision" to prepare a sustainable development action plan. Goals - to prepare an action plan for sustainable development (SDAP) in the Niger River Basin - to set up the technical instruments required to perform the study, for identifying scenarios, assessing them and monitoring actions. - to take account of the demand and resource evolution trends related to climate change. Methods The approach included: - identifying the water demand with forecasts for various periods (up to 2025) for the various water usages - setting up a hydraulic model, which will make it possible to: o assess the present functioning of the system o plan development and improvements o and assist future management of the system - to establish evaluation criteria, some of which are monetary (agricultural production, hydropower...) and others depend on their social or environmental impact, - and to define a territorial breakdown based on the assets and potential of uniform zones (Development Zones) extending beyond administrative State boundaries. Findings The studies enabled the following: - establishment of shared demand scenarios, including assumptions to be used when certain data are lacking, - comparison of numerous development scenarios in response to the issues highlighted in the Shared Vision, seeking in particular to meet the water demand everywhere in the river basin for the same levels of priority (principle of equi-satisfaction). The SDAP confirms the levels of priority applicable at Development Zone scale. - proposal of a decision aid to characterise scenarios according to economic criteria, but also integrating political (sharing the benefits of the water) and hydraulic (equi-satisfaction) concepts. Conclusion The interest of this method is its iterative, integrated approach to the different stages: the demand database was interfaced with the hydraulic model. The main issues defined in the SDAP were translated into scenarios and tested with the hydraulic model then assessed with the decision-aid. Permanent consultation between member countries and consultants made sure that everyone took up the approach and its methods within a limited timeframe. Innovative in its principles, both in the choice to prioritize demands and to manage development zones as opposed to transboundary management, this approach was a way of shifting the planning framework to place the emphasis on the river basin as a whole.
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