Senegal River Basin, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal (WWDR1, 2003)

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The Senegal river represents a 1,800-kilometre lifeline for a multi-ethnic, multicultural population where livestock outnumber people. It runs through sub-Saharan Africa in a mostly desert region characterized by water scarcity and subsistence economies.

The Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS) was created in 1972 with a mandate to ensure food security and harmony among all riparian users. Thanks to the construction of two main dams providing energy, irrigated agriculture and year-round navigation – and to an original management approach based on a concept of ‘optimal distribution among users’ rather than volumetric water withdrawals – the area is gradually developing.

Ironically, dam construction has brought problems as well as benefits, and the major concern is water-related diseases.

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