WATER LEVELS STILL RISING

Swollen Rift Valley lakes heavily polluted

Official says effluent from nearby flower farms and estates is easily finding its way into the lakes

In Summary

• Tens of animals displaced by the swelling lakes and pushed into nearby farms and settlements, raising conflict.

• According to the National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC), the most affected lakes are Naivasha, Nakuru and Elementaita.

A structure is submerged by Lake Naivasha following a sharp rise in water levels.
Lake A structure is submerged by Lake Naivasha following a sharp rise in water levels.
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

The sharp rise of water levels in all the lakes in Rift Valley has caused massive pollution, raising fears of a crisis in the water body ecosystems . 

According to the National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC), the most affected lakes are Naivasha, Nakuru and Elementaita.

Speaking in Naivasha after visiting the water bodies, NECC secretary John Chumo said effluent from nearby flower farms and estates is easily finding its way into the lakes. 

Chumo noted that this would have negative effects on the lakes ecosystem in the coming days as the levels continue to rise. 

“Destruction of the catchment area has also added silt washed into the lakes, contributing to the rise,” he said. 

He noted that due to the silt, the lakes had become shallower leading to the rise of levels, thus flooding and displacing scores of families. 

Chumo noted that wildlife corridors around the lakes had been closed leading to an increase in cases of human-wildlife conflict. 

Tens of animals, he said, had been displaced by the swelling lakes and pushed into nearby farms and settlements.

He attributed the problem to encroachment of riparian land, warning that this should be addressed and the water boundaries reviewed once the water levels drop. 

“There is a need for more studies in Rift Valley to determine the real cause of the rise in water levels in all the lakes which in turn have displaced hundreds of people and wildlife,” he said. 

Boat operator in Lake Naivasha Ben Teke said with the rise in water levels, many small scale traders had lost their source of income.

He said they were living in fear as there was no space to operate from after landowners fenced their properties.

Trader Cliff Mukua called on landowners to help them get space to conduct business around the lake. 

“Every day, the water levels are rising pushing us further away and into private land leading to another crisis and yet we have no other source of livelihood,” he said.

Edited by R.Wamochie