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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan
Richard Lalou
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
et al.

Part II. Impacts of the climate and environmental changes

Chapter 7. Anthropic and environmental factors involved in the increase in flooding in the Sahel

Luc Descroix, Gil Mahé, Jean-claude Olivry, Jean Albergel, Bachir Tanimoun, Ilia Amadou, Brehima Coulibaly, Ibrahim Bouzou Moussa, Oumarou Faran Maiga, Moussa Malam Abdou, Kadidiatou Souley Yéro, Ibrahim Mamadou, Jean-pierre Vandervaere, Emmanuèle Gautier, Aida Diongue-Niang, Honoré Dacosta et Arona Diedhiou

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The hydrology of the Sudano-Sahelian strip has evolved rapidly in recent decades. West Africa has experienced strong climatic and environmental changes that have deeply modified the runoff/infiltration/evapotranspiration balance and, as a result, the conditions of flow formation.

The observations and scientific progress that have enabled better understanding of the impact of environmental changes on the hydrological cycle can be summarised in the form of several key stages. During the fieldwork conducted for his doctoral thesis, Albergel (1987) noted that since (and in spite of) the start of the drought, discharges were increasing in the ORSTOM experimental catchment areas in Burkina Faso and located in the Sahel zone but—more logically—were decreasing in those in the Sudanian zone. A few years later, Olivry et al. (1993) and Olivry (2002) showed that the discharge of the Upper Niger at Koulikoro (drainage basin of 120,000 km2) and numerous large West African rivers were ...


Soil physicist, Université Joseph-Fourier, LTHE (Laboratoire d’étude des transferts en hydrologie et environnement), UMR 5564 IRD/CNRS/UJF/G-INP, Grenoble, France

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