Reflooding the Faguibine floodplain system, northern Mali: potential benefits and challenges

Published in: African Journal of Aquatic Science
Volume 41, issue 1, 2016, pages: 109–117
DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2016.1141749
Author(s): O HamerlynckKenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Team, Kenya, SA Moulaye ZeineGlobal Monitoring, Mauritania, JY MutuaKenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Team, Kenya, LV MukhwanaKenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Team, Kenya, M YénaDirection Nationale de l’Hydraulique du Mali, Mali


The Faguibine system, northern Mali, consists of a series of interconnected floodplains of which the flooded surface area declined from about 1 000 km² in the late 19th century to only some 90 km² in 2010. Flood extent depends on the height of the Niger River flood peak at Diré. Satellite imagery analysis indicated that a phase shift may have occurred in the year 2000, probably as a delayed consequence of the Sahelian drought of the 1970s compounded by the collapse of societal controls on water use during recent civil conflict. An economic evaluation of the system in 2011 showed US$100 000 per year of net income per flooded km² in Lake Faguibine, allowing vulnerable people to practise recession agriculture, to fish and to graze livestock. An intensive investment phase, combined with an approach of rebuilding local governance systems and environmental management capacity, could yield net benefits to the user communities of the order of ten times the maintenance costs, contributing to human well-being. The system is currently threatened by the building of the Fomi Dam in Guinea and by the planned expansion of irrigation upstream. There is also a risk of the return of a prolonged drought linked to the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation index.

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