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Salt Poses Threat to Senagal's Siné Saloum Delta Wetlands

Senegal's Siné Saloum Delta is a biodiversity hotspot. Just 180 kilometers south-east of Dakar, the UNESCO world heritage site covers some 180,000 hectares, comprising wetlands, lakes, lagoons and marshes, as well as sandy coasts and dunes, terrestrial savannah areas and dry, open forest. It's home to 400 species and plays a vital role in flood control and regulating the distribution of rainwater for the local people and wildlife.

But due to drought, climate change and the uncontrolled logging of mangrove forests, the ground's salinity has shot up – threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people living there. One of them is Khadiome Ndongue, a resident of Sadio Ba near the west coast town of Foundiougne. Every day she draws water from a well in the community vegetable garden. The water from the well dug in 1988 has gradually turned salty over the last twenty years.

During the dry season, in the wetland along the Saloum river, underground fresh water retreats, letting seawater in. This is known as saltwater intrusion - the movement of saline water into freshwater aquifers – making fresh water sources undrinkable.

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