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Are the Fouta Djallon Highlands Still the Water Tower of West Africa?

Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR PALOC IRD/MNHN/Sorbonne Université, 75231 Paris, France
LMI PATEO, UGB, St Louis 46024, Senegal
Direction de la Gestion et de la Planification des Ressources en Eau (DGPRE), Dakar 12500, Senegal
Département de Géographie, Université Assane Seck de Ziguinchor, Ziguinchor 27000, Senegal
UFR des Sciences Humaines et Sociales, Université de Lorraine, 54015 Nancy, France
Master SPIBES/WABES Project (Centre d’Excellence sur les CC) Bingerville, Université Félix Houphouët Boigny, 582 Abidjan 22, Côte d’Ivoire
Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, BP 200592 Doha, Qatar
Ecole Polytechnique de Thiès, Laboratoire des Sciences et Techniques de l’Eau et de l’Environnement, LaSTEE, Thiès BP A10, Senegal
ESPACE, Université Côte d’Azur, 06204 Nice, France
UMR G-EAU, IRD (AgroParisTech, Cirad, INRAE, MontpellierSupAgro, University of Montpellier), Dakar 12500, Senegal
IRD HSM, Case MSE, Université Montpellier, 300 avenue Emile Jeanbrau, 34090 Montpellier, France
CERE Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur l’Environnement, UGANC Conakry, Conakry 001, Guinea
Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes IUHEG, Conakry et GEOPROSPECT, Conakry 001, Guinea
Montpellier SupAgro, UMR LISAH, IRD, INRA, University of Montpellier, 34090 Montpellier, France
NBA (ABN) Niger Basin Authority, Niamey 8000, Niger
UMR G-EAU, IRD (AgroParisTech, Cirad, INRAE, MontpellierSupAgro, Univ Montpellier), Univ Montpellier, 34196 Montpellier, France
Direction Nationale de l’Hydraulique, Conakry 001, Guinea
Laboratoire Leïdi “Dynamique des Territoires et Développement”, Université Gaston Berger (UGB), BP 234-Saint Louis 46024, Senegal
Senior Investigator of IRD
UMR G-EAU, IRD (AgroParisTech, Cirad, INRAE, MontpellierSupAgro, Univ Montpellier), Conakry 001, Guinea
Independent Consultant, 34980 Combaillaux, France
Département de Géographie, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar 12500, Senegal
Grdr Migrations, Citoyenneté, Développement, 93100 Montreuil, France
OMVS Organisation Pour la Mise en Valeur du Bassin du Fleuve Sénégal, Dakar 12500, Senegal
FPFD, Fédération des Paysans du Fouta Djallon BP 52 PITA, Timbi Madina 7311, Guinea
OMVG Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Bassin du Fleuve Gambie, Dakar 12500, Senegal
Institut de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, Centre de Recherches Hydrologiques, Yaoundé BP 4110, Cameroon
IRD, Cirad, INRAE, Montpellier SupAgro, UMR Eco&Sols, University of Montpellier, 34196 Montpellier, France
SENASOL, Service National des Sols, Conakry 001, Guinea
UMR IGE Univ Grenoble/Alpes, IRD, CNRS, Grenoble INP, Université Grenoble Alpes, 38058 Grenoble, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(11), 2968;
Received: 31 July 2020 / Revised: 9 September 2020 / Accepted: 10 September 2020 / Published: 22 October 2020
A large share of surface water resources in Sahelian countries originates from Guinea’s Fouta Djallon highlands, earning the area the name of “the water tower of West Africa”. This paper aims to investigate the recent dynamics of the Fouta Djallon’s hydrological functioning. The evolution of the runoff and depletion coefficients are analyzed as well as their correlations with the rainfall and vegetation cover. The latter is described at three different space scales and with different methods. Twenty-five years after the end of the 1968–1993 major drought, annual discharges continue to slowly increase, nearly reaching a long-term average, as natural reservoirs which emptied to sustain streamflows during the drought have been replenishing since the 1990s, explaining the slow increase in discharges. However, another important trend has been detected since the beginning of the drought, i.e., the increase in the depletion coefficient of most of the Fouta Djallon upper basins, as a consequence of the reduction in the soil water-holding capacity. After confirming the pertinence and significance of this increase and subsequent decrease in the depletion coefficient, this paper identifies the factors possibly linked with the basins’ storage capacity trends. The densely populated areas of the summit plateau are also shown to be the ones where vegetation cover is not threatened and where ecological intensification of rural activities is ancient. View Full-Text
Keywords: Fouta Djallon; water tower; depletion (or recession) coefficient; runoff coefficient; soil water holding capacity; basement; sandstone; Fula society Fouta Djallon; water tower; depletion (or recession) coefficient; runoff coefficient; soil water holding capacity; basement; sandstone; Fula society
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MDPI and ACS Style

Descroix, L.; Faty, B.; Manga, S.P.; Diedhiou, A.B.; A. Lambert, L.; Soumaré, S.; Andrieu, J.; Ogilvie, A.; Fall, A.; Mahé, G.; Sombily Diallo, F.B.; Diallo, A.; Diallo, K.; Albergel, J.; Alkali Tanimoun, B.; Amadou, I.; Bader, J.-C.; Barry, A.; Bodian, A.; Boulvert, Y.; Braquet, N.; Couture, J.-L.; Dacosta, H.; Dejacquelot, G.; Diakité, M.; Diallo, K.; Gallese, E.; Ferry, L.; Konaté, L.; Nka Nnomo, B.; Olivry, J.-C.; Orange, D.; Sakho, Y.; Sambou, S.; Vandervaere, J.-P. Are the Fouta Djallon Highlands Still the Water Tower of West Africa? Water 2020, 12, 2968.

AMA Style

Descroix L, Faty B, Manga SP, Diedhiou AB, A. Lambert L, Soumaré S, Andrieu J, Ogilvie A, Fall A, Mahé G, Sombily Diallo FB, Diallo A, Diallo K, Albergel J, Alkali Tanimoun B, Amadou I, Bader J-C, Barry A, Bodian A, Boulvert Y, Braquet N, Couture J-L, Dacosta H, Dejacquelot G, Diakité M, Diallo K, Gallese E, Ferry L, Konaté L, Nka Nnomo B, Olivry J-C, Orange D, Sakho Y, Sambou S, Vandervaere J-P. Are the Fouta Djallon Highlands Still the Water Tower of West Africa? Water. 2020; 12(11):2968.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Descroix, Luc, Bakary Faty, Sylvie P. Manga, Ange B. Diedhiou, Laurent A. Lambert, Safietou Soumaré, Julien Andrieu, Andrew Ogilvie, Ababacar Fall, Gil Mahé, Fatoumata B. Sombily Diallo, Amirou Diallo, Kadiatou Diallo, Jean Albergel, Bachir Alkali Tanimoun, Ilia Amadou, Jean-Claude Bader, Aliou Barry, Ansoumana Bodian, Yves Boulvert, Nadine Braquet, Jean-Louis Couture, Honoré Dacosta, Gwenaelle Dejacquelot, Mahamadou Diakité, Kourahoye Diallo, Eugenia Gallese, Luc Ferry, Lamine Konaté, Bernadette Nka Nnomo, Jean-Claude Olivry, Didier Orange, Yaya Sakho, Saly Sambou, and Jean-Pierre Vandervaere. 2020. "Are the Fouta Djallon Highlands Still the Water Tower of West Africa?" Water 12, no. 11: 2968.

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