Lake Nakuru water levels rise by nearly 37% displacing over 600 families

Lake Nakuru has ballooned to 68 square kilometers in size, up from 43 square kilometers, representing a 36.8 per cent increase. This is according to a Nakuru County Government task force report on rising lake levels.

Over 667 households have lost their homes as Lake Nakuru waters have inundated over 70 hectares of farmland. The report shows that if the current trend continues, the lake is expected to overflow to 82 square kilometers by 2031, more than doubling its size from 2015.

According to the report findings, the lake is predicted to increase seven meters as a result of the exceptional rise in water levels that has occurred since 2010.

The report, which traces the rising levels back to 2010, when the lake first burst its banks, shows that the lake extended its flood area from 3,268.71 hectares in January 2010 to 5,400.27 hectares in October 2020, a 2,131.56 hectares increase.

The increased volume has also had an impact on the riparian ecology, displacing wildlife, a portion of the park’s road network, staff houses, office blocks, electric fences, and campgrounds, as well as increasing occurrences of human-wildlife conflict.

Rising lake levels have also resulted in a dramatic change in water chemistry, since the lake’s salinity has decreased, indicating that it could now be turning into a freshwater lake.

“Results of the January 2021 waterfowl population estimates and species diversity is highest in Lake Nakuru compared with lakes Baringo, Bogoria, and Elementeita,” the report reads.

The task force attributed the changes to siltation caused by deforestation and bad farming practices. It demonstrates that between 1970 and 2021, more than 600 square kilometers of forest and natural vegetation in Lake Nakuru’s catchment basin were removed for cultivation and habitation.

The area covered by natural forest cover in the Lake Nakuru basin has decreased from 47 percent in 1970 to 26 per cent in 1986, 10 per cent in 2000, 9 per cent in 2010, and 8 per cent in 2021.

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