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'Lake Victoria water to rise in next 10 years'

A view of some buildings already affected by gradual increase of water levels of Lake Victoria at Lwang'ni Beach in Kisumu. [Photo: Maureen Odiwuor/Standard]

A new study has revealed that water levels in Lake Victoria will rise in the next 10-15 years due to changes in weather patterns as a result of global warming.

The recent study done by the North Carolina State University’s Department of Marine, Earth and Atmosphere Sciences in the US now reveals that East Africa is on the verge of facing a climate shift.

North Carolina State University’s Professor and Director of Climate Fredrick Semazzi said the lake will replenish its waters at an almost unprecedented rate, which will result in its rise.

He stated that the swift, unexpected resurgence will lead to destruction of property.

“The climate change projections indicate that we should expect an increase in rainfall along Lake Victoria. There is this dichotomy that the current decrease in rainfall is going to stop and an increase will be experienced,” he said. The expected rise in water levels will also affect planning along the lake for countries.

The waters will also have important implications for economic development especially in climate sensitive sectors including power generation, road network general construction and businesses along the Lake.

Climate projections

“It is really important that we are able to quantify exactly how these projects will evolve in the coming decades. Currently many countries are using the global climate model which is important for making climate projections in the global sphere,” Prof Semazzi said.

He added: “The interaction between the lake and the general climate is extremely important, hence we need to build technical capabilities of climate models able to capture the regional factors and how they interact with global phenomenal.”

The research stipulates that use of advanced meteorological tools alone will not be sufficient because there will be need to train experts on how to handle them to get credible climate predictions.

“People need to be trained on human capital to be able to carry out the important studies to prepare citizens adequately for the forthcoming changes. This information should be incorporated in planning so that constructions of major road systems and railway lines close to the lake are not done to avoid wastage of money,” he said.

While speaking during the fifth conference on climate change and development in Africa in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Semazzi said the East African meteorology department does not have adequate capacity to handle the anticipated climate evolution.