Lake Naivasha water drops as rivers dry up

Families have encroached on riparian land and will be forced to move.

In Summary

• Drying up poses major to towns, industrial parks. and processing zones and wildlIfe.

• Caused by drought and abstraction by farmers. Blow to tourism.

Fishermen manoeuvre through water hyacinth.
DRYING UP: Fishermen manoeuvre through water hyacinth.

The drop in water levels around Lake Naivasha Basin poses a major threat to nearby towns and planned capital projects around Naivasha.

With rivers and aquifers drying up due to the drought, environmentalists have warned that this could have adverse effects on the planned industrial parks in Mai Mahiu area.

In recent months, all rivers and streams flowing into Lake Naivasha have dried up due to the drought and unregulated abstraction of water in the catchment area.

This came as stakeholders called for a ban on irrigation along streams and tributaries in the Aberdares to save the current situation around Lake Naivasha.

According to national chairman Water Resource Users Association (NAWRUA) Enock Kiminta, there was a need to invest in the catchment which was the main source of water in the basin.

He noted that Lake Naivasha basin was a water-scarce region noting that the current drought had worsened the situation with all the rivers drying up.

“The current water shortage could affect the planned capital projects in Naivasha including the industrial parks as they need a lot of water to operate,” he said.

He added that the planned construction of dams by the government was timely if proper planning was done and the projects commissioned before the rainy seasons kicked off.

“The drought is an eye-opener in terms of water conservation and dams should come in handy in addressing water demands by the capital projects,” he said.

Kiminta at the same time issued a warning to tens of families that had encroached on land around the lake that they faced displacement once the heavy rains started.

He noted that since the lake levels started dropping, tens of area residents had encroached on the riparian land either for farming while others had constructed permanent houses.

“The meteorological department is projecting heavy rains in the coming months and this will flood the riparian land around the lake and displace all those who have encroached,” he said.

The chairman of Lake Naivasha Basin Landscape Association (LANABLA) Paul Ruoya blamed the current water crisis for failure to invest in the catchment area.

He said planned construction of mega-dams in the Aberdares for use in the capital projects and nearby towns would be futile as rivers in the region continued to dry.

“The government should make sure that the catchment area has enough water courtesy of conservation before thinking of constructing dams to support the industrial parks,” he said.

(Edited by V.Graham)

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