Drivers of Watershed Degradation and its Implications on Potable Water Supply in the Menchum River Basin of Cameroon

Cordelia Givecheh Kometa


Current anthropogenic stresses on natural systems in the Menchum River Basin of Cameroon have remained the major contributors to watershed degradation in the region. This study examines the various drivers of watershed degradation in the basin and their implications for potable water supplies. It gives an assessment of the spatio-temporal changes in land use and its effect on water yield and erosion rates, and also assesses the probable interaction of global climate change and anthropogenic factors on water yield. The study employed a combination of field observations, informal interviews and the consultation of secondary data to investigate these drivers. The data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistical techniques, and presented in both qualitative and quantitative terms. A series of maps and photographs were used to portray land use and land cover changes in the basin. It was observed that population pressure and incompatible land use changes account for watershed degradation in the basin. The implications have been increased runoff and surface overland flow, a reduction in potable water quality and quantity resulting to frequent water cuts. The paper recommends the sustainable management of watersheds whereby, all critical components need to be included into the planning process for the watercourses and their catchments.

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