The conference was a meeting of the 11 northern Africa countries that comprise the Pan African Great Green Wall (PAGGW) project, a large-scale environmental program designed to reduce and eventually stop the encroachment of the Sahara desert. Desertification is an increasingly-critical issue in a number of African – and other – countries, eliminating agricultural activities and forcing residents to urban centres to survive.
The Trans Africa Pipeline project, conceived in 2005, has designed a system of desalination plants on both the east and west coasts of Africa that will feed a water pipeline connecting them to provide as much as 400,000 cubic meters per day of potable water. This life-saving water will be distributed to 11 countries that border the drought-stricken region call the Sahel, bordering the Sahara desert. The water from this pipeline can meet the needs of millions of African villagers in the Sahel, provide sufficient water to convert desert areas into agricultural farms for food, and service the millions of trees being planted along this corridor by the Pan African Great Green Wall Project (PAGGW).
Dr. Tennyson travelled to Mauritania and presented the large-scale TAP project first to the conference’s panel of experts technical committee, and subsequently to the PAGGW Minister’s meeting, comprised of government ministers from the 11 signatory countries.
The report submitted at the end of the technical experts session stated that “the Technical Committee of Experts appreciated the true value the opportunity that this pipeline project could offer to people living in areas along the GGW’s route and recommends in this regard to the Council of Ministers to consider this ambitious project for the implementation of the Initiative of the Great Green Wall.”
A large majority of the technical experts present approached Dr. Tennyson after his presentation, stating that the TAP project is the solution to the Sahel region’s water crisis. These experts believe that TAP will be critical for the survival of millions of Africans and would be recommending approval to their own government ministers. In addition, a senior representative of the United Nations Desertification Program told Dr. Tennyson he believed that TAP could be a major and integral part of their desertification project.
“The response to the TAP proposal was enthusiastic and positive,” said Dr. Tennyson. “The experts at the GGW conference realize that there is insufficient water and rainfall to support the current plans for the Great Green Wall; TAP can provide that water, which will change the face of Africa.” TAP has solved two major issues surrounding large-scale desalination projects. The production of large amounts of salt brine from desalination plants is, at many sites, returned to the ocean, which increases the salinity of the ocean waters, a process destructive to ocean life. The TAP project includes land-based salt ponds which enable the harvesting of salt, the elimination of returning salt brine back into the ocean, and the potential for true financial gain from the sale of salt.
The second major issue TAP has solved is power production to operate the pipeline and its component pumping stations; Tennyson has designed large-scale, environmentally-safe solar power plants capable of operating the pipeline from one end to the other.
The approval of TAP by the panel of experts and the proposal to adopt TAP as an integral part of the Great Green Wall project is a major step forward for the Canada-based TAP team. The subsequent phase of the conference, continuing the following week, involved review by government ministers of the 11 Great Green Wall countries of the projects approved by the technical expert committee.
Released by: TAP