Lake Victoria water levels break 56 year record

Lake Victoria
Losses, despair as Lake Victoria bursts its shoreline

By David Luganda, AFMC/NECJOGHA

The rising water level of Lake Victoria, last week broke the record set 56 years ago.

According to Eskom, the company managing power generation in the country, the water levels of  Lake Victoria, the biggest water body in Africa and biggest inland fishing body in the world, last Thursday reached 13.42m surpassing the 13.41m mark which was recorded on May 5, 1964.

The Head of Corporate at Eskom, Simon Kasyate told the New Vision newspaper that currently, both Nalubaale and Kiira hydro power stations are spilling 2,400 cubic metres of water per second.

“We have a permit granted by the Directorate of Water Resources Management authorizing us to release 2,400 cubic metres of water per second,” Kasyate said.

Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, a commissioner in the ministry of water explained that the increased release of water at the Jinja dams is being done for two reasons – to prevent the lake extending beyond the protection zone and to keep the power dams safe.

Lake Victoria is shared between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It supplied 23 rivers but has only River Nile as its outlet.

Intensive and prolonged rainfall in Uganda and in the East African region has caused a rise in water levels of Lake Victoria and all major water bodies in the country. The quick rise is further hastened by environmental degradation and urbanization.

According to a statement by Sam Cheptoris, Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment, Uganda, is currently experiencing impacts of intensive and prolonged rainfall which has caused rise in water levels of major water bodies and flooding in several areas of the country

According to Sam Cheptoris in 1961 to 1964 and also 1996 to 1998, Uganda experienced similar intense rainfall that resulted in rise in the levels of rivers and lakes below which no developments and settlements should be made.

Last week, Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment issued an alert over Lake Victoria’s water levels that have surged to their highest level in more than half a century after about eight months of relentless downpours.

In Uganda the rise in the water levels has displaced people on landing sites, luxury hotels and beaches around Lake Victoria.

In Tanzania, the Daily News reported that recreational facilities providers around Lake Victoria in Bukoba municipality have been forced to search for alternative settings amid incurring losses after their premises were submerged by rising water levels. In Kenya, beaches and recreational facilities around Kisumu are also being washed away by the ravaging lake.

Today about 30 million people in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania rely on the lake for fishing, irrigation, drinking water and, in Uganda, electricity. Lake Victoria is also the source of one of the River Nile’s major tributaries, the White Nile.

About 250 million people rely on the Nile in Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.





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