21 August 2018

Kenya: Fears of Flooding As Water Levels in Baringo Lakes Rise

Photo: Premium Times
(file photo)

Water levels at major lakes in Baringo County have increased tremendously in the past one month sparking fears of flooding in adjacent homesteads.

The most affected lakes are Bogoria and Baringo which have started submerging neighbouring homes and structures.

A spot check by the Nation at Lake Bogoria national reserve on Saturday revealed that water levels had increased to an extent of submerging tarmac roads leading to the reserve hence rendering many areas impassable.

The shore is now 500m from the main gate where tourists can glimpse at the flamingoes from a distance.

SUBMERGING ROADS

According to Senior Warden James Kimaru, the water levels increased in a span of one month from the initial 34 kilometres square to 43 kilometres square currently.

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"The lake has been increasing drastically each day for the past one month submerging roads leading to the reserve.

We have been forced to divert the roads more than four times as it keeps increasing each day and some homes adjacent to the lake have been submerged," said Mr Kimaru.

He said the swelling of the lake has also affected the flamingoes' habitat as they now have no open space to feed and stay and the shores are full of shrubs.

WATER MASS INCREASED

"At the moment you can just find the birds in specific sites as opposed to the other times when you could see them anywhere in the Lake. Most of them have been covered by shrubs at the shores and it is hard to see them," said the senior warden.

He however said that the number of birds have increased, from 800,000 in January to 1.3 million in July, and the reserve is now hosting the biggest number of flamingoes in East and Central Africa.

Lake Baringo is also witnessing an equally worrying trend with its warden, Mr Jackson Komen, saying that the water mass has increased by more than 80 per cent since 2015.

FAMILIES DISPLACED

He said the rising water levels have seen several tourist hotels and lodges adjacent to the lake get partially submerged.

Mr Komen named Block Hotels, Roberts Camp, fisheries staff quarters and Kampi Samaki dispensary as the most affected.

The warden added that many families have been displaced at Ruggus, Komolion and Noosukro after their homes were submerged by the swelling lake.

He added that they were contemplating moving giraffes from Ruko Conservancy to the mainland after the area turned to an island.

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