Lake Chad is one of the largest inland lakes in Africa. It is believed to be a remnant of an inland sea. Geologica evidences show that this lake has changed its size several times in the past 12000 years. Its area was about 400000 sq kilometers in 4000 BC.The name Chad is a local word meaning "large expanse of water," in other words simply "lake." In 1823 the lake was first surveyd by the Europeans. This lake is shared by four african nations: Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. 20 million people of these nations live around this lake. Though this lake covers a large area its depth is very shallow to the extent of 10.5 metres.
In the 1960s it had an area of more than 26,000 km², making it the fourth largest lake in Africa. By 2000 its extent had fallen to less than 1,500 km². This is due to reduced rainfall combined with greatly increased amounts of irrigation water being drawn from the lake and the rivers which feed it, the largest being the Chari/Logone system,
Due to shrinkage of the lake water crisis has developed in the surrounding countries. This has developed serious conflict among the sharers of the lake. Farmers and herders want the water for their crops and livestock and are constantly diverting the water. The fishermen however want the remaining water in the lake to stay for their fishing.
Image: ShrinkingLakeChad-1973-1997 Courtesy: NASA