Lake Victoria water levels historically surge to the highest volume

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Lake Victoria water levels
Submerged structures in Lake Victoria islands following continued heavy downpour. Photo Courtesy/

Lake Victoria water levels have hit a record high of 13.42 metres, surpassing the 1964 highest mark of 13.41 metres. The surge in water levels is posing a threat to hydropower plants and populations living along the shores of the lake.

Experts from hydropower generation company – Eskom Uganda Limited, have attributed the high water levels to the ongoing heavy rains being experienced in East Africa, as well as environmental degradation and urbanization.

Eskom said water spilling for both Nalubaale and Kiira hydropower stations started in March at 1000 cubic meters per second and has now reached 2,400 cubic meters per second.

According to Uganda’s water and environment minister, Sam Cheptoris, hydropower is at risk as water levels cause dislodgement of papyrus mats… resulting into huge mass of floating islands, which are dangerous to hydropower infrastructure.

Already, Kenya and Uganda have been hit by nationwide power blackout early Saturday morning after what electricity distributor Kenya Power said was a system disturbance in the transmission grid. The two countries’ grids are interconnected.

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President Yoweri Museveni visited the lake to observe its increasing shores and said Uganda has expanded the exit gates to spill water into River Nile to avert any further damage that could arise from the lake waters.

However, pundits have warned that the release of more water out of the lake will lead to flooding of other lakes downstream through the River Nile system.

The rising water levels of Lake Victoria have not only affected communities staying near the shores in Uganda but also in Kenya.

According to Kenya’s Water Resources Authority (WRA), all the dams in the country are full beyond capacity and spillage is being witnessed in most.

Mohamed Moulid Shurie, WRA chief executive, says water levels in rivers and dams across Kenya have risen to levels not witnessed in many years. Lake Victoria has reclaimed the riparian land, displacing populations along its shores and submerging farms within the contour buffer.

Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest fresh trans-boundary water body shared by three East African countries, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

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