East Africa: Lake Victoria Waters On the Rise As Climate Change Hits

Encroachment on wetlands, destruction of forests and poor agricultural practices have destabilised the ecosystem in the Lake Victoria Basin.

Environmentalists say the heavy rains experienced in the past two years in the basin have resulted in a rise of the lake's water by a metre.

East African Community environment ministers meeting in Entebbe recently heard that Uganda requires $405 million to mitigate the effects of climate change in the next five years. Rwanda and Burundi do not directly share Lake Victoria but have common economic interests because they are affected by its ecological changes.

The ministers were Judi Wakhungu of Kenya, Ephraim Kamuntu of Uganda, Rwanda's Franc Mugambagiye and Rurema Deo-Guide of Burundi. Tanzania was represented by Mbogo Futakamba, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water.

Regional link

Outgoing Lake Victoria Basin Commission executive secretary Canasius Kanangire drew a link between erosive and invasive deposits from the hills of Rwanda and Burundi and the quality of waters in Entebbe, Kisumu and Mwanza towns on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Overfishing and oxygen depletion at lower depths of the lake threaten its biodiversity with more than 200 indigenous species said to be facing possible extinction.

The Lake Victoria Basin Commission has been making efforts to reverse these trends through several programmes whose effectiveness was being reviewed at the conference.

They are the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative; Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project and population health and the environment.

Source: The East African