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Water pressure: climate change and adaptation in the Niger River Basin

Ilona Millar

Opinion paper, 2 pages

Climate change is expected to result in severe water stress over much of the African continent. Not only will water become scarcer in already dry regions, but changing freshwater temperatures could affect natural ecosystems and water quality. The Sahel, running along the southern edge of the Sahara, could see its water supply become even more erratic, increasing the risk of extended drought and more intense monsoons. Adapting to such potentially dramatic shifts will demand major adjustments to current water management systems and practices. But there is a serious complicating factor: more than 80 rivers and lakes on the continent are shared by two or more countries. As experience in the Niger River Basin shows, this interdependence must be a priority in national and local adaptation strategies that affect transboundary water sources.

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