|Primary inflows||Chari River|
|Primary outflows||Soro & Bodélé depressions|
|Basin countries||Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria|
|Surface area||1,350 km2 (520 sq mi) (2005) |
|Average depth||1.5 m |
|Max. depth||11 m |
|Water volume||72 km3 (17 cu mi).|
|Shore length1||650 km|
|Surface elevation||278 to 286 metres (912 to 938 ft)|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Lake Chad shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998, but "the 2007 (satellite) image shows significant improvement over previous years". Lake Chad is economically important. It provides water to over 68 million people in the four countries surrounding it: Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. It is on the edge of the Sahara Desert. It is the largest lake in the Chad Basin, the largest drainage basin in Africa.
Fossils of an important extinct hominid were found in the dried lakebed of Lake Chad. This was Sahelanthropus tchadensis. From evidence at the fossil site in Chad, it is thought to have lived about seven million years ago.