living labs

The Upper Mefou subcatchment in Cameroon

Location of the Upper Mefou catchment in the boundaries of Cameroon
Location of the Upper Mefou catchment in the boundaries of Cameroon
Image Credit: F. Becker, 2014

Location of the watershed

The catchment in Cameroon is the upper part of the Mefou River in the Centre Region of Cameroon (Région du Centre) at the city boundary to Yaoundé, the Capital of the country, at the bridge to the rural area. One third of the localities within the watershed is part of the urban area of Yaoundé since the urbanization is processing (Map 1). The proximity to the urban parts of Yaoundé is of great importance for the watershed, since it comprise a dam constructed to provide fresh water to the city. The watershed covers parts of the Yaoundé subdivision (arrondissement) in the Mfoundi Division (départment) and parts of the Okola and Lobo subdivision in the Lékié division.

The surface area of the water is around 70 km2 and includes around 20 villages and hamlets of different size.

Physical environment

The climate of the watershed is a tropical wet-and-dry climate, with around 1600 mm of rain per year and two pronounced wet seasons. The ferralitic soils in the catchment are mostly covered with a dense humid forest; but progressively, agriculture around the villages and urbanization are leading to land cover change. The rocks are dominantly gneiss.

 Detailed introduction to the Upper Mefou subcatchment

Access to water

Natural springs, rivers, scattered wells and water pumps are the sources for drinking water access. In the rural areas in general as well as in the urban parts, pipeline systems are missing.

A special characteristic of the watershed is a dam, constructed from 1969 to 1971 which supplied Yaundé with freshwater till 1999. Since the supply of Yaoundé with drinking water is not sufficient (100 000 m³ per day instead of 250 000 m³), the government decided to reconstruct the dam in 2012. The re-activation of the dam is planned for the beginning of 2014. The national water company of Cameroon, CamWater, is running the construction.

Administration of the project

The project is hosted by the Department of Geography of the Higher teacher Traning College of the University of Yaoundé I and runned by:

Rodrigue Aimé Feumba, assistant lecturer

Pr Ndam Ngoupayou Jules Rémy, Professor.

Cooperations

The project cooperates with local associations and authorities as well as governmental and international organizations , which are:

  • The Ministry of Water and Energy
  • CAM WATER
  • CDE
  • GIZ
  • Chiefs of the villages
  • CBO
  • NGOs (e.g. AFAD or Dynamique citoyenne)
  • Companies working on the Mefou Dam (SCET TUNISIE and RAZEL)