Mission and Vision

Amman Imman's is dedicated to empowering and preserving Africa's most vulnerable indigenous peoples and engaging school children worldwide as socially conscious leaders.

Friday, July 10, 2009

PBS showcases water problems in the Azawak

"According to UNICEF, only about 20 percent of Niger's underground water is tapped," reports the PBS Online Newshour in a recently published slide show Families Hunt for Water in Niger Valley. The photo slide show captures images from Amman Imman's recent visit to the Azawak, where it identified the site of its next borehole well.


SteveK said...

The fight against desertification must be won in the wetlands, so that the wetlands can again water the drylands. The problem in the wetlands of North Central Africa is infestation with the weed Typha Australis. Typha is a dessication machine that more than quadruples evapotranspiration, and silts up a body of water until its bed is above the water table. The mess in the Lake Chad basin is the driving force in the expansion of the Sahel. Its reduction and control is desperately needed and would help solve numerous other problems (malaria, quelea, flooding..) too.

Clearing this mess would replenish the lake, the aquifers, and reestablish the old "lake effect" rains. But the resilience of the plant makes clearance a never ending struggle. Fortunately, there is a profit to be had in biofuels. I do not know if your area has typha immediately available. It is what is causing your thirst, but it could be from a distance. If you have it, harvest it and use it. Your best bet would be as charcoal. If not, encourage the neighboring areas which do to do so. A few kilometers may put it out of your range for usage, but won't put you out of its range for troublemaking.

Amman Imman said...

Hi, Steve,
Thanks for your comment. Do you know about the Jatropha plant? I don't know about Typha in our region, but in our travels in the Azawak, we saw many Jatropha. These are also known to be useful as a biofuel source. It has been suggested that it be harvested for this purpose.

SteveK said...

Lots of people are working on Jatropha. It appears to have very good potential in diesel and grows well in dry areas. My concentration on Typha is centered on the desperate need to control it. If there are no wetlands in Azawak: 1) Typha is the reason for the dryness; 2) Typha is elsewhere, sucking away your water.

There is a good article online today in the "daily triumph" on Jatropha that may be of help to you. This madman is out to save the world From and With (With and From) cattails(Typha).

Amman Imman said...

Thanks, Steve, I will check out the article. I'll check with the director of our project regarding the question of wetlands in the Azawak. I know there are marshes that fill up during the 1 to 3 month rainy season, but I'm not sure whether they qualify as wetlands. Once the rains stops, they dry completely.
I checked with my colleague about the plants we saw in the Azawak, and she is not sure if what we saw is the same plant as the photos I found online. I need to search through my files for the photo. I know you are not studying jatropha, but if I send you my photo would you willing to give me your opinion on whether or not it is Jatropha?

SteveK said...

I'd be willing to look at your jatropha? picture, but I could only compare to online stuff myself. Try sending it to some of those working on it. Most of them are eager to spread their word.

I'd very much like to see pictures of the seasonal marshes. There will very likely be either Typha or Phragmites in them. The seasonal marsh is one of the later stages in the process of killing a waterway with weeds. Water hyacinth, fern and lettuce (the other most troublesome weeds)do not survive this stage. Whatever is there will be of interest.

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