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Lake Victoria Water Level Close to Highest Ever Recorded – Minister

Lake Victoria water level is only 0.08 meters away from the highest level ever recorded in May 1964, Government has warned.
File Photo; Boats grounded at Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria water level is only 0.08 meters away from the highest level ever recorded in May, 1964, says the Government.

The water levels in Lake Victoria and other water bodies have risen due to Intensive and prolonged rainfall in Uganda and in the East African basin.

Experts say this has also been made worse by environmental degradation and urbanization that has caused a disruption on the water bodies.    

According to the Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, the rise in water level has gone up from 12.00 meters to the current level of 13.32 meters as of 30th April 2020, and there are fears that the water could rise to 13.41, the highest ever recorded.     

Cheptoris who addressed the press at the media center on Friday says that the rise of 1.32 meters was attained in only 6 months. He warned that this may continue for some time in line with the recent seasonal weather forecast for March to May 2020 issued by the Ministry. 

He says several settlements and developments around Lake Victoria and River Nile have been affected including beaches and some individual houses are already flooded.  

“Some of the establishments submerged include; Serena-Kigo Hotel, Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo, Hotel Protea Entebbe, Gaba Beach, K.K Beach, Miami Beach and several other beaches, markets, Gaba water works, jetties, and settlements/homes around the lake,” says Cheptoris. 

He says some areas including schools, health facilities and places of worship both churches andmosques are at risk as they are near the lake.

Other impacts of the rising water levels are; dislodgement of papyrus mats from encroached shorelines resulting into huge mass of floating Islands which are dangerous to hydropower infrastructure. 

The high water level has also affected the construction of Kyiko Bridge, downstream of Isimba Hydropower Dam and also affected water transportation and destroyed settlements.

Cheptoris says Lake Victoria is a huge trans-boundary water body shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with about 23 rivers that bring water into it, but with only one exit through River Nile at Jinja. He says they have also Instituted measures to immediately get more water out of Lake Victoria through increased release at Jinja which is now is at a rate of 2200 cubic meters per second, up from a rate of 1000 cubic meters per second in October 2019. 

The Minister also warned that for Lake Kyoga, it is projected to exceed the highest historical water level of 13.2 meters and as such shorelines, swamps and flood plains will experience high water levels.

Cheptoris adds that following this, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the eviction of people living within 100 meters of river banks, 30 meters of wetlands and 200 meters of lake shores, and in forest reserves, and stop cultivation on the steep slopes in order to reduce erosion and high run off from the hilly areas.

   

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