Integrated River Basin Management of the Sanaga River, Cameroon

Jaap van der Waarde
Friday, June 29, 2007
Sanaga River, Cameroon
Sanaga River, Cameroon

Integrated River Basin Management of the Sanaga River, Cameroon: Benefits and challenges of decentralised water management

This paper was written as final assignment for the course ‘Integrated River Basin Management’ at the UNESCO Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands.

The Sanaga River is the largest river in Cameroon and its basin covers almost a fourth of the country. It flows for 918 km from its source on the Adamawa Plateau to the mouth at the Atlantic Ocean near Douala nd covers a drainage basin of about 140,000 km2. The average flow of the river is 2072 m3/sec with a minimum flow of 473 m3/sec in March and a maximum from August to November of 5700 m3/sec. The river flows through 6 of the 10 provinces of Cameroon: Adamawa, North-West, West, East, Central and Littoral Provinces. Two hydropower plants have been installed on the Sanaga which produce some 95% of all electricity consumed in Cameroon. Three dams have been constructed on the river to create reservoirs in the headwaters providing sufficient flow in the dry season to allow power production. Population density in most of the basin is medium to low, possibly some 5-10% of the population of Cameroon of 16 million people live in the Sanaga basin.