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RECORD: Lake Victoria is ‘full’

ESKOM has started spilling water from Lake Victoria to River Nile to control the rising level of Lake  Victoria. PHOTO ESKOM MEDIA

🔸 RECORDS
📌12/05/1964 ⬆ 3.41m
📌07/05/2020 ⬆ 3.40m

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & URN | Lake Victoria is only 0.01 meters from reaching it highest ever water level of 13.41 recorded on 12th May, 1964.

President Yoweri Museveni today made a stopover at Kitubulu, Katabi Town Council on Entebbe Road, to observe the lake’s ever increasing shores. The water levels for Lake Victoria now stand at 13.40 metres.

Museveni said the extra damage that could have been caused was averted because Uganda has expanded the exit gates to spill water into River Nile. In 1964 when the water level reached 13.41 metres,  there was only one exit gate allowing 1,300 cubic metres per second.

Uganda has two exit gates, and can release up to 3,000 cubic metres of water to go through.

“It will not damage our dams but people near the shore and river banks should get out, they could be swallowed by the water. Even where I was standing there, the water came up to where I was.  People should be 500 meters from the shore, ” he said.

The water level on Lake Victoria and other water bodies has risen due to Intensive and prolonged rainfall in Uganda and in the East African basin. Experts say this has also been made worse by environmental degradation and urbanization that has caused a disruption on the water bodies.

According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, the rise in water level has gone up from the average 12.00 meters to 13.32 meters as of 30th April 2020,and now 13.40 metres.

The rise of 1.40 meters was attained in only 6 months. Several settlements and developments around Lake Victoria and River Nile have been affected including beaches and some individual houses are already flooded.

Other impacts of the rising water levels are; dislodgement of papyrus mats from encroached shorelines resulting into huge mass of floating Islands which are dangerous to hydropower infrastructure.

The high water level has also affected the construction of Kyiko Bridge, downstream of Isimba Hydropower Dam and also affected water transportation and destroyed settlements.

Lake Victoria is a huge trans-boundary water body shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with about 23 rivers that bring water into it, but with only one exit through River Nile at Jinja.

Lake Kyoga, it is projected to exceed the highest historical water level of 13.2 meters and as such shorelines, swamps and flood plains will experience high water levels.

Museveni at the Lake shores today. PHOTO PPU

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network (URN), traders and residents expressed worry over their lives as their homes and stalls are all flooded by water.

During URN’s visit to the landing site, a good number of houses, retail shops and food stalls were found plunged into water.

One needs a boat to maneuver from one place to another. In some areas only those with boots can walk from one end to another. But this is more of risking life as it is difficult to determine which side is deep.

Richard Ssembatya, who has been a resident of Port Bell for the last 17 years says they need urgent help since their lives are at risk. Ssembatya says lives of children are at a greater risk as they can easily drown.

Agnes Nantongo, also a resident and vendor says the little food she is selling is rotting as people fear going to buy from them. Before the lake plunged the place, Nantongo said they would sell sweet potatoes worth 80,000 shillings and avocados valued at 50,000 shillings.

Lake Victoria has submerged this landing site in Luzira

 

Margret Kabagambe, a Born Again pastor in the area also cries foul as her church, house and food stall have been flooded by water. Kabagambe asks government to compensate them so that she can go back to her home village in Kyenjojo district.

Nzerena Nakayizza, who travels by boat from Mukono to Port Bell to sell raw food stuffs says for the 20 years she has been doing business at the landing, she had never seen Lake Victoria immersing the entire place.

She wonders how she will feed her family of seven children as her business has been hampered by the flooding. Nakayizza says she would make between 130,000 shillings to 200,000 shillings on good days which is no longer the case.

The Executive Director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Tom Okurut said the affected residents including vendors must leave the place before they are forcefully evicted. Okurut said diseases such as cholera are likely to hit the place, a reason they have ordered people to leave.

 

3 comments

  1. Going by the current weather patterns, we are headed for another record level by May 12, 2020 or even days before.
    I can feel for people who live next to the lake shores and who make livelihood variously in the same vicinity and their efforts of perhaps wanting to save their homes or businesses and or gardens by staying put and being adamant to move away.
    That, however, is unwise and risky. The rising waters won’t consider that. What matters now is to run for their lives, life is more important and so is living healthy. By staying in such waterlogged areas, not only is it life threatening but also exposes their lives to waterborne diseases.
    On compensation, truly calls for that are unreasonable for the vicinity is a natural reserve for water bodies and also all got there by encroachment.
    The affected persons should be helped to move and resettle elsewhere.

  2. ADRUTTA PROTASI

    I this is should the first person to speak this , but the rise of Water in Lake Victoria should be traced back in the Early 60s ,and then we come to what is happening now .They say that it last flood , 60s and my point is this was the time when the dam in ninja was built , and after the building of the dam , there was no case of Flooding on the shores of the lake , let’s open the eyes Ugandans , They are building new Dam on the river , and they have to stop water leaving out a small passage of small amount ,of water and I think this can cause a flooding of water on the shores of lake Victoria , now the government has got a chance to chase innocent Ugandans to leave these places ,and leave the people building in the swamps , in the of protecting the Wetlands , Ugandans we are not fools , try to make research
    ADRUTTA PROTASI

    • You might not be very accurate Mr Protasi, owen falls dam was built in the early 50’s and opened in 1954. So we cannot attribute the rising water levels to the construction of the dam that had happened 10 years plus ago. The conclusions you draw from that logic therefore may not hold.

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