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Proposal developed : Sénégal– HYCOS

(version française)

On 16 September 2008 OMVS and WMO signed a letter of intent for the implementation of Senegal HYCOS preparatory phase.

The Senegal River is originated from the confluence of Bafing and Bakoy, both having their sources in the Fouta Djallon massif in Guinea. It flows for about 1800 km before pouring through a delta into the Atlantic Ocean. The total surface of the basin is about 300 000 km2 and the average annual discharge 676 m3/s.

The sustainable management of the water resources in the Senegal River basin represents a stake of size for the four riparian countries: Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The river is the main watercourse of the area and represents a strategic resource under many viewpoints: it potentially represents a waterway of particular importance for fostering trade from land-locked Mali, the floodplains of its middle and lower course host important agricultural activity and also some agro-food industry, hydropower generated by the dam such as Manantali represents approximately 15 to 20% of the total needs for the riparian countries; finally the delta hosts internationally protected wetlands of exceptional ecological value for their biodiversity,

The multiplicity of the uses of water and the multinational character of the basin led the riparian countries to establish the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS) in order to ensure the rational exploitation of the resources of the river, and to guarantee the freedom of navigation and the equal treatment of the users. Each country is indeed committed seeking prior agreement of the others before undertaking any development likely to modify significantly the conditions of the river. To fulfill their mandate OMVS and National Hydrological Services in the riparian countries require data and information on the evolution of the resource, the impacts of climatic variability with frequent droughts and decadal variations, and the increasing impacts of the demographic pressure and human activities on water resources.

Unfortunately the last decades have seen a considerable reduction of the national capabilities for undertaking the hydrological monitoring of the river and its tributaries and producing quality information meeting the needs of the end-users. Particularly serious is the situation in the upper Guinean basin, where almost the totality of the discharge forms and in which the observing network is particularly weak; however OMVS with its own resources and the support of international partners maintained a basic network in the whole basin to ensure the management of the hydroelectric plants.

In view of the this situation, and considering that Senegal River was among the basins identified for the development and implementation of basin-wide HYCOS components by the framework strategy paper on the follow up to AOC-HYCOS (prepared by WMO and adopted by the participating countries and institutions involved) OMVS approached WMO Secretariat and requested its support in preparing a proposal for Senegal-HYCOS.

The goal of the Senegal-HYCOS project, developed by WMO with the support of expert from OMVS is to set up a basin wide information system, based on the one hand on upgrading and expanding of the observation (quality and quantity) and telecommunication network, and on the other hand on the reinforcement of the national (NHS) and regional (OMVS) capacities to exploit the data and to turn them into information likely to contribute to Integrated Water Management and sustainable development in the region.

OMVS and WMO experts gathered in WMO Headquarters in Geneva on 12 and 13 November 2007 to review and finalize the project document also in the light of new developments in the activities of OMVS, establish a list of actions to be undertaken in the immediate future and make recommendations for the preparation of the detailed project document and for project implementation.