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Opinion on cause of flooding in Rift Valley lakes divided as Ministry prepares report

A report on the significant rise in water levels in the Rift Valley will soon be released, the PS for environment has said.

Chris Kiptoo, speaking to journalists said that the report would give details into what was leading to the rising water levels on the Rift Valley. Kiptoo had spoken at the Serena Hotel in a meeting that was meant to rally Kenyans to join the government’s efforts to increase Kenya’s forest cover.

No single cause of flooding?

However, experts on matters geology and environment have disagreed on a single cause of the rising water levels. L. Bogoria, L. Naivasha, L. Nakuru, Baringo and Turkana have all seen a significant rise in their water levels.

Indeed L Nakuru, Bogoria and Elementaita have seen their flamingo population drop as the birds fly off. This is because the rising water levels have interfered with the lake’s pH, which kills algae, the main food for the flamingoes.

Deaths and displacements

Baringo residents have especially been hard hit, with over 30,000 people displaced in the county. There are also fears of an ecological disaster if L. Baringo and Bogoria meet. Furthermore, the swelling lakes have killed over 400 people.

Some of these lakes, the report, are witnessing water levels higher than they have seen in recent history. The strange occurrence has displaced thousands, disrupting countless tourism business activities in the expansive Rift Valley region.

Heavy rains, tectonic shifts the cause

Some experts have sited heavy rains as the cause of the rising water levels. The Rift valley has witnessed heavy rains since mid-last year. However, others point to silt build up in the lakes as the cause. Silt build-up reduces the lake’s depth, meaning that water then ‘spills over’. Often, silt can result from heavy rains pushing loose soils from dry, over-cultivated land into the lake.

However, seismologists point to tectonic plate movement as responsible for the rising water levels.

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