UNOSAT celebrates World Water Day by releasing results of vast project in Chad

Geneva, 22 March 2014, in celebration of World Water Day, UNOSAT is thrilled to announce the release of its first hydrogeological map of Chad, produced in the context of the RésEAU project – Cartography of water resources in Chad

As highlighted by the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon: “Water holds the key to sustainable development”. This is particularly true in Chad, which faces extreme weather conditions, varying between a very arid climate in the North and floodplains in the South. Better knowledge of groundwater resources and their interaction with rainwater is essential to ensure optimal management.

The RésEAU project stems from this observation and brings together the Ministry of Rural and Urban Hydraulic (MHRU) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). UNITAR, and more specifically UNOSAT, has been mandated by the SDC to implement the activities, namely the creation of the Information System for Water Resources (SIRE) database and the delivery of GIS and hydrogeology capacity development programmes in Chad. The project, begun in April 2012, is expected to last 3 years.

Two sets of hydrogeological maps will be available for Chad by the end of the project: one hydrogeological reconnaissance map on a 1:500,000 scale and one more precise set of maps on a 1:200,000 scale detailing local realities. After two years working on the project in Chad and in Switzerland, the various teams of experts involved in the project have developed a methodology coupling well and borehole data with satellite imagery to separate, on a regional scale, aquifer formations from those with little or no water potential.

The pilot map, showing the ‘Wadi Fira’ region of Chad, is a hydrogeological reconnaissance map on a 1:500,000 scale and served as a template for the methodology; the back of the map includes an exhaustive explanatory note and synoptic maps that allow the user to understand the context of available water resources.

“With this map being printed by our partner swisstopo, the Federal Office of Topography, the RésEAU project has entered a new phase spanning until June 2015, during which time 35 maps will be produced representing Northern and Eastern Chad” says Olivier Senegas, Project Leader of RésEAU within UNOSAT.

All of the current knowledge made available to national decision makers will facilitate the development of cross-sectoral and interministerial policies that will aim to cement long term, durable water resource management.