Cameroon is a country in central Africa which borders 6 countries including Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Gabon. The country has a vast network of rivers within its diverse and numerous climatic regions. These rivers are part of the world's freshwater streams with large biodiversity and importance to local communities. The country has four major drainage patterns depending on the direction of flow of the rivers. Since most rivers pass through the fertile land, the waters are used for irrigation, particularly during the dry season. Some rivers such as Congo have been exploited for hydroelectric power due to their high potential.
Major Rivers Of Cameroon
The Congo River is the world’s second largest after Amazon River in water discharge, the world’s deepest river and the ninth longest river. The river Congo has a length of 2920 miles. The river flows through the rainforests of Cameroon and nine other African countries including Angola, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, and Zambia. The Congo basin covers an area that is equivalent to 13% of the African continent land mass. The source of the river is in the mountainous highlands of East African rift before it eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The river supports more than 700 species of fish, a number of which are endemic, within its various eco-regions. The river has been exploited by local communities for transport, fish, and water for irrigation. Hydroelectric dams have been constructed along the course leading to fears of endangering the endemic fishes, frogs, and snails in the river.
Benue River is a navigable river with a length of 870 miles making it the largest tributary of River Niger and it is shared with Nigeria. The river starts from Cameroon's Adamawa plateau from where it flows westwards then southwards before draining into the Niger River at Lokaja. The river has served as a source of fish and water for domestic, irrigation, and transport uses for many years to the riverine communities. However, due to the situation of the river, the water volume decreased leading to declining of fish and made the river hard to navigate during the dry season.
Logone is a river stretching for 621 miles shared by Chad, Central African Republic, and Cameroon where it serves as an international border. The river is fed by two major tributaries (Pende River and Ouham-Pende) and drains into Chari River. The river is an important fishing ground for local communities. Logone is faced with threats during the dry season when the water volume reduces leading to reduced water for irrigation and domestic use.
River Chari has its source in the Central African Republic from which it flows through Chad and Cameroon and drains into Lake Chad. Chari has a length of 590 miles, part of which forms international border between Chad and Cameroon. Chari provides an outstanding home for some fish species including nile and perch, making it an important fishing ground for many local communities.
Management of river basins
Basins of rivers in Cameroon such as Sanaga, Dja, Nyong, Oyono, and Wouri are vital to local and national economies in Cameroon and should, therefore, be exploited sustainably with management measures put up to counter the effects of human activities and reduce the impact of climate change on these rivers. Destruction of the river systems in Cameroon will mean a loss of part of the rich biodiversity supported by the rivers.