Senegal’s pink lake threatened by flood after heavy rains | Water Information


Senegal, like different nations within the West and Central Africa area, has recorded above-normal rainfall in current weeks that has unleashed harmful floods

After days of torrential rain, salt miner Moussa Diare may solely watch in despair as flood waters breached a meters-wide hole on the banks of Senegal’s Pink Lake and washed away 1000’s of {dollars} price of salt mounds he had gathered.

“That is the primary time I’ve seen this. I misplaced some huge cash with my salt that has been washed and dissolved by the water,” Diare mentioned on Tuesday.

Senegal, like different nations within the West and Central Africa area, has recorded above-normal rainfall in current weeks that has unleashed harmful floods after poor drainage methods failed.

The lake, separated by a strip of dunes from the Atlantic Ocean, is located roughly 35 kilometres (20 miles) from Senegal’s capital Dakar. It is likely one of the nation’s most-visited websites and is into account as a UNESCO World Heritage website.

Formally often known as Lake Retba, it derives its pinkish hue from an alga that produces the colored pigment, and just like the Lifeless Sea, can be recognized for its excessive salt content material.

Diare is one in all greater than 3,000 individuals who earn a residing from the lake, together with a whole lot of divers who manually rake salt from the underside of the lake, producing about 38,000 tonnes yearly. The salt is used for cooking and exported across the area.

As persistent rains drenched Senegal, with roughly 126 millimetres (5 inches) recorded throughout one spell over the previous weekend, in accordance with the Water and Sanitation Ministry, drainage methods and retention reservoirs have been rapidly overwhelmed and channelled flood waters in the direction of the lake.

In accordance with Senegal’s civil aviation and meteorological company, rainfall above 50mm (1.9 inches) within the nation is taken into account “excessive”.

Because the flows reached the lake, the water degree rose, washing away dozens of salt mounds, mentioned Babacar Ba, one other miner who was making an attempt to save lots of his remaining mounds.

Abdoulaye Faty, a hydrologist and lecturer at Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop College, informed the Reuters information company that rising water ranges in surrounding plateaux naturally pooled into the low-lying lake.

As a result of the lake has acquired ample flood water, it may affect its salt content material and color, he added.

With a month to go earlier than the tip of Senegal’s June – October wet season, different companies across the lake, together with eating places and flat-bottom boat operators, who take vacationers on excursions of the lake, are counting their losses and apprehensive in regards to the future.

“What appealed to guests was the sensation of floating on the floor of the lake due to its salt content material. At present, nobody can float right here,” mentioned Abdou Seye Dieng who runs a campsite on the shores.

The federal government has activated a nationwide plan to assist communities hit by perennial floods, and a mission from the Water and Sanitation Ministry is anticipated to go to the lake quickly.

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