- Stakeholders want the state to ban irrigation mainly along rivers and streams flowing into the lake and embark on conservation as a long-term measure.
- There are fears that the lake salinity levels could rise, making it impossible for flower farmers to use it for irrigation.
Lake Naivasha is staring at an environmental crisis as rivers flowing into it continue to dry up due to the ongoing drought.
As a result, there are fears that the lake salinity levels could rise, making it impossible for flower farmers to use it for irrigation.
According to experts, this is the first time in history that River Malewa, which is the lake’s main tributary, has dried up, with fingers pointing at human activity and climate change.
Stakeholders now want the state to ban irrigation mainly along rivers and streams flowing into the lake and embark on conservation in the catchment area as a long-term measure.
Water Resource Users Association national chairman Enock Kiminta said the lake is experiencing the full effects of the harsh weather. He said other rivers that have dried up include Gilgil and Karati, which were major tributaries of the lake.
“The lake levels are dropping by around four centimetres every week and this will definitely see the salinity levels rise, thus affecting many operations around the lake,” Kiminta said.
Speaking in Naivasha after visiting the affected rivers, Kiminta further said the situation had been worsened by increased cases of abstraction and farming along the shores of the rivers.
“This has led to an increase in cases of water disputes and the government should invest in conserving the lake’s catchment area in the Aberdares,” he said.
This was echoed by Lake Naivasha Basin Landscape Association chairman Paul Ruoya, who blamed the current crisis on climate change and human activity.
Ruoya said all streams in the catchment area had dried up, noting that this had impacted all the main rivers as cases of illegal logging continued unabated.
“For over 70 years, River Malewa has never dried up and all this has been caused by deforestation and it's time irrigation along the rivers should be banned immediately,” he said.
KCC village resident Leah Wanjiru said the drying of Malewa River spelled doom for area residents as this was their only source of water.
“This informal settlement solely relies on water from this river and we don’t know what to do as it's no longer drying due to the drought,” she said.
Another resident, Mary Wambui, said they used the water from the river for farming, fishing and consumption.
“We have never witnessed anything of the kind in the past as the river has dried up and families don’t have any other source of water,” she said.