This series portrays life around the Lac de Guiers. Most photos have been shot between 2007 and 2012, the area around Keur Momar Sarr. My focus, at the time I shot these photos, were the people and their activities connected with this important water resource. I haven’t produced photos on other concurrent actors interested in these waters, namely the two (now three) water stations (Gnit and Keur Momar Sarr), responsible for the provision of up to 65% of the water of Grand Dakar. I also did not photo the many massive agricultural investments around the lake, although I am well aware of them. 

In the area of Keur Momar Sarr, the lake is sectioned by a tar road, which connects to the village of Guéo. This road is actually a landfill, built in 1956, to help control the waters. A small structure as we arrive to the fisher village is paramount in the management of the waters. Before this date water would follow its natural course, reaching Linguère, but also scattering around and becoming shallow. 

Early in the morning, activity around the lake is already bustling. A woman marches from Guéo to Keur Momar Sarr, to buy her staples, while the women of Ndialbenabe Maka arrive at the lake, where they’ll fill their adapted air chambers with up to 200 liters of water. The task can take a few hours and often meet some unexpected and unwelcome problems, like the heavy chambers falling to the ground because the donkeys are restless and burdened.

Also to be found around, at this time of the year, before the Harmatan begins, and while there are still grazing pastures, adult Peul shepperds with big herds. These will continue further south as the dry season reaches its peak and pastures disappear, only to come back as the rainy season replenishes everything once more. During the peak dry season, shallower waters will completely dry up and traces of salt can be seen.

Somewhere to the West, on the opposite margin from Ndialbenabe, some kilometers away from Keur Momar Sarr, the women of Roba, also prepare their carts to provision themselves in water. Twice a day they leave the village to fill their 20L plastic bidons.
The first trip is normally to Keur Momar Sarr, where they will not only get fresh water from the public tap, but they will also buy their staples for the day, while also sometimes selling yogurt. The public tap is managed by the family of the chief of village of Keur Momar Sarr. Despite the fact that pretty much everyhouse has running water these days, these public taps represent an important point of access to fresh water to people from neighbouring villages, who lack this basic commodity. Such is the case of Roba.
The second trip will happen in the afternoon, but this time water will be provisioned directly on the lake, and given to the small (and sometimes larger) cattle eagerly awaiting.


One of the common problems around the lake is the infestation of Typha. In the eighties most of the lake was still easily accessible. But from then onwards, large portions of it began to be covered with this invading species, which difficults access in many points, renders navigation difficult and destroys fish habitat. This is one of the many consequences of the construction of Senegal River Dam in Diama, in 1985. Another one, was the increase of Human schistosomiasis, provoked by a parasite lodged in water snails, which began to thrive after their natural predators (shrimps) couldn’t swim upstream any longer, because of the dam. 
Many projects have tried to intervene directly to control this problem, either cleaning or restoring the ecosystems. Other projects try to create economic value by reintroducing prawns or using Typha as biofuel to produce charcoal, in construction and other uses. Notwithstanding, the capacity to intervene widely is limited. 

In the village of Keur Momar Sarr in particular, most entries are completely covered, several meters deep, with this weed. 

As the day progresses, we can find people all around the lake. The young  talibé who rinses his horse. The boys who fill bidons and charge them in a pickup, to water the private garden in a nearby house. Abdoulaye who has taken a break from his welding activities to start his water pump and irrigate his field. The woman who, in collective farm of Ganket Guent, irrigates her onions. The woman who washes her kitchenware in the waters around Guéo, nearby the kids that play and the other women that wash themselves. 

Fishing is one of the most important activities for riverside villages. It represents an important part of what is sold in local markets. It is especially important when sea fish becomes scarce, either because of shortages or problems in distribution.