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

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

After days of torrential rain, salt miner Moussa Diare might solely watch in despair as flood waters breached a meters-wide hole on the banks of Senegal’s Pink Lake and washed away hundreds 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 stated on Tuesday.

Senegal, like different nations within the West and Central Africa area, has recorded above-normal rainfall in latest weeks that has unleashed damaging floods after poor drainage techniques 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 without doubt one of the nation’s most-visited websites and is into account as a UNESCO World Heritage web site.

Formally generally 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 identified 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 bunch 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 techniques and retention reservoirs have been rapidly overwhelmed and channelled flood waters in the direction of the lake.

Based on 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 stage rose, washing away dozens of salt mounds, stated Babacar Ba, one other miner who was attempting to save lots of his remaining mounds.

Abdoulaye Faty, a hydrologist and lecturer at Dakar’s Cheikh Anta Diop College, instructed 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 might impact its salt content material and color, he added.

With a month to go earlier than the top 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 fearful concerning the future.

“What appealed to guests was the sensation of floating on the floor of the lake due to its salt content material. Presently, nobody can float right here,” stated 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 predicted to go to the lake quickly.



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