5. Solutions; Proposals; Estimated results

As also shown previously, the increase of living standards for the inhabitants of circum-Saharan states relies first of all on using their own territories that are deserts now, with a view to practicing there an intensive agriculture. This study on the Sahara desert aims at reaching the following goals:
- Getting the water required for agricultural crops
- Stopping Saharan desertification and bringing the reclaimed land back into the countries’ economic circuit
- Practicing an intensive agriculture with minimum water consumption
With a view to achieving such goals, mention should be made that about 80% of the water consumption in the world goes to agriculture at present. Further on are the solutions and main proposals of the study.

a. Water source
The water needed for future agricultural crops in the Saharan region can be obtained without permanent costs to procure it, as it comes directly from nature, and aquifer layers are not impacted in the least. Such water can be taken from Niger River under an annual programme, in variable amounts depending on its flow rates during the dry / wet seasons, since findings show that the water flows of this river, ranging from 15,000 m3/s to 30,000 m3/s, when all the water needs of all Niger riverside states are covered, run unused into the ocean.
It is likely that, when agricultural cultures in Sahara have been made, the flow rate of Niger River will be lower at its ocean flowing than the sum of flow rates of all its tributaries. This fact was also ascertained for the Nile River in Egypt, because of the irrigation of great land areas now cultivated. (The annual average flow rate of Nile waters upon entering Lake Nasser of Aswan is of 3,800 m3/s, while in Cairo upon flowing into the Mediterranean it is only of 2,300 m3/s, respectively 60% of its received amount).

b. Water intake
Water from Niger River will probably be taken on the territory of Niger state, between Timbuktu and Niamey. The solutions that can be taken into consideration in order to make Niger waters cross the tectonic fault eastward are as follows:
- By siphoning using U-shaped pressurised pipes
- By pumping using vault-shaped pressurised pipes
- By a water bridge
The first two solutions utilise current techniques applied in the construction of hydropower plants. The last one has been used in Hamburg harbour, Germany. However the solution will be determined using proper technical-economic calculations. The developments for the water intake will be able to solve also the upstream basin of Niger River by systematising the current swampy insalubrious region, also called Niger River’s ‘inner delta’.

c. Bringing the water into Lake Chad
Once the water has been taken over and crossed eastward over the tectonic fault, it can reach Lake Chad either by means of conduits meant to avoid losses by evaporation or using an open channel, or even by mixing these two solutions. Given that some changes in the relief of the area might have occurred in past millennia since the fault has occurred, additional work could be required in order to provide water flowing along the natural slope towards the depression where Lake Chad is found, possibly even intermediate water pumping stations. Such work is however habitual in this field. The map in Figure 3 provides the dotted outline of a OUED course (dry basin of a river) from west eastward, showing also that at half distance to Lake Chad (near Zinder) the water might reach its destination using the course of river Komandugu.

d. Lake Chad, a buffer water reservoir
Lake Chad will be a compensation reservoir for the water taken over from Niger River during the dry/wet seasons. Since it has been greatly silted in time by alluvia carried by torrents from the area, its storage capacity will have to be enhanced however not by increasing its surface but by deepening it, thus reducing losses through evaporation. The un-silting of Lake Chad will be scheduled depending on the amount of water provided to be stored temporarily, in accordance with the operational regimes adopted.

e. Increased water efficiency by irrigation
As regards water utilisation for agricultural activities in the desert, the water saving for various cultures requires irrigation. This can be performed by conventional aspersion (Fig. 19), or using a mobile drum and hose (Fig. 20); however the most efficient moisturising method is by dripping (Fig. 21), which is good for all types of agricultural crops (pastures, cereal crops, vegetables, vineyards, orchards, flower growing etc.).
Depending on the specific culture, wetting by dripping can be performed in several variants:
Dripping system
Water flow rate by dripping device
Life cycle of material
Cylindrical dripping device
2.0 litres / hour
8 – 10 years
Flat dripping device
1.65 l/h
4 – 5 years
Band dripping device
1.0 l/h
3 – 4 years
Irrigations by dripping provide many benefits, among which the following:
- They allow watering the plants and fertilising them at the same time (fertilisers are added to water)
- They require a low water consumption (about 60% against the traditional irrigation system)
- They use water at reduced operational pressures
- They require a low power consumption
- They allow automating the process
- They provide the greatest continuity in wetting the cultures and their perfect location
- They facilitate water penetration even in highly impervious soils
- Water distribution into cultures is independent on the wind downsides
- They delimit the proliferation of pests
- They can be performed on uneven or bumpy grounds
- They do not require qualifying the operational personnel
- They allow personnel and annex outfits to move between rows, even during wetting
- They require low costs for water distribution pipes, as their operational life is long
Various wetting systems by dripping are illustrated for fruit-bearing orchards in Malta (Fig. 22), for stalk cultures in Jordan (Fig. 23) and for pastures in Libya (Fig. 24).

f. Estimated results
The performance of the work provided in this study will bring huge benefits in many fields for all circum-Saharan states, but perhaps for other African countries as well; among such benefits, mention should be made of environmental protection since the impact is positive; sensible economic growth, and even favourable political images. Thus we can provide such examples:
- Limiting the desertification of lands and bringing them back into the economic circuit
- Increasing agricultural productivity by extending cultivable areas and stabilising sandy grounds
- Getting natural inexhaustible water with minimum operational costs
- Reducing the environmental impact since aquifer beds are not depleted, but on the contrary supplied
- Improving and diversifying the food sources for inhabitants, as well as their cattle stock that will become more productive
- Stimulating domestic and foreign trade
- Utilisation of local labour and reduction of unemployment
- A great number of inhabitants will become sedentary
- Reduced emigration to other countries
- Enhancing the renown of the Organisation for African Unity in the world

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