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Dam to dangerously lower Lake Naivasha

Will take year to fill up, meaning no water will flow into lake, hurting lake and river users

In Summary

•Thousands of people will be hurt, including flower farmers.

• Water already at an all-time low.

Lake Naivasha drying up, boats on shore.
DYING LAKE: Lake Naivasha drying up, boats on shore.
Image: COURTESY

The planned construction of a mega-dam in Nyandarua will dangerously lower water levels in Lake Naivasha and could spell environmental disaster.

Levels are at an all-time low in the heavily polluted lake from which the famous flamingoes have fled.

The dam to be built in Malewa is meant to supply water to Naivasha, Gilgil and the industrial park in Mai Mahiu. 

Some environmentalists on Wednesday called for a halt to the project. Some called wide public consultations and full disclosure before the project starts.

"If the dam is allowed to continue, it could lead to the death of Lake Naivasha and this is an environmental disaster in waiting," said Francis Muthui, chairman of friends of Lake Naivasha. 

Addressing the press in Naivasha, Muthui and Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association chairman Enock Kiminta said water levels would drop sharply due to the dam.

Kiminta said the dam would also hurt users of rivers flowing from Nyandarua to Naivasha and Gilgil.

If the dam is allowed to continue, it could lead to the death of Lake Naivasha — an environmental disaster in waiting.
Francis Muthui, chairman of friends of Lake Naivasha

“This dam will take one year to fill up, meaning for that period there will be no water flowing to Lake Naivasha and this will affect hundreds, including flower farms,” he said.

“We are not opposed to the project, but we want all the steps followed so we know how our lives as downstream users could be affected and the remedies put in place,” he said.

Muthui, said that water levels are at an all-time low despite the ongoing rains in parts of the Aberdares.

 

“Currently water level is low and we wonder what will happen when this mega-dam is constructed in the coming year,” he said.

He said at the end of May, the water was 1,888.17 meters above sea level, way below the normal 1,889.5.

“Most of the users of lake water have heeded government's call to stop massive water abstraction and this has helped," he said

Lake Naivasha boat owners association chairman David Kilo cited the increase in water hyacinth and sewage effluent as major problems.

He said hyacinth makes it difficult for boat operators and called on the government to remove it.

“Some estates bordering the lake have no proper sewer connections, hence, raw sewer is flowing to the lake hurting the critical ecosystem,” he said.