BY BEATRICE OBWOCHA
From the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, the shoreline of Lake Elementaita looks like a desert surrounding a small patch of water.
The western and eastern shores of the lake hold little patches of water from hot springs while the main basin of one of Rift Valleyâs smallest lakes is turning into a dust bowl.
One gets the impression that they can walk right across the remaining muddy patch that stretches several kilometres.
When strong winds blow, a whirlwind of grey dust sweeps right across the lake whose water levels have declined to less than half a metre deep.
Not even water from the recent rains pounding Nakuru and its environs seem to have made a difference on the lake.
Thousand of flamingos that used to line its shores, giving them a pink hue, have migrated elsewhere as the lakeâs water level has declined to its lowest in 20 years.
Environmental experts are blaming the situation on diversion of water by farmers from three rivers that used to flow into it, and siltation as vegetation around it has been cleared by recurrent droughts.
But this situation could reverse if an intensive campaign by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK) to have Elementaita, together with lakes Nakuru and Bogoria declared World Heritage Sites, becomes reality.
The plan to save the lake is good news not only to conservationists, but also hoteliers around the lake and, unwittingly, flamingos and pelicans that dot the shores attracting tourists.
There are four tourist hotels along its shores while a five-star hotel is expected to come up at the nearby Soysambu Conservancy.