Water Pollution: One of the major problems facing the exploitation of rivers in Senegambia is water pollution. Industrial activities, agricultural runoff, and improper waste disposal contribute to the contamination of rivers, affecting water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
Deforestation and Soil Erosion: Deforestation in the river catchment areas leads to increased soil erosion, which results in sedimentation in rivers. This reduces their carrying capacity, increases the risk of flooding, and impacts navigation and water supply.
Inadequate Infrastructure: Insufficient infrastructure for river transportation and irrigation systems hinders the efficient exploitation of rivers for commercial purposes. Lack of well-maintained ports, jetties, and river channels limits trade and transportation opportunities.
Lack of River Management: Inadequate river management practices, including the absence of comprehensive river basin management plans, contribute to conflicts over water allocation, inefficient use of water resources, and uncoordinated development along rivers.
Climate Change and Drought: Climate change impacts, such as changing rainfall patterns and increased drought occurrences, affect the water availability and flow in rivers. This poses challenges to water supply for agriculture, industry, and domestic use.
Overfishing and Decline of Fish Stocks: Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices in rivers lead to the decline of fish stocks, affecting the livelihoods of fishing communities and the overall ecological balance of the river ecosystems.
Invasive Species: The introduction of invasive plant and animal species into rivers disrupts the native ecosystems and can have negative effects on biodiversity and water quality.
Land Encroachment and Illegal Activities: Encroachment of river banks for agriculture, settlements, and illegal activities such as sand mining and illegal fishing pose threats to the natural habitat of rivers and can cause erosion and degradation.
Lack of Stakeholder Participation: Insufficient involvement of local communities, indigenous people, and other stakeholders in decision-making processes related to river management limits their ability to contribute to sustainable and equitable river exploitation.
Transboundary Issues: Many rivers in Senegambia are transboundary, crossing national borders. The lack of coordinated management and cooperation among riparian countries can lead to conflicts over water allocation, pollution, and other shared challenges.
Addressing these problems requires collaborative efforts among governments, local communities, and relevant stakeholders to implement sustainable river management practices, improve infrastructure, promote conservation measures, and ensure the equitable and efficient use of river resources.