Flower farms submerged as Lake Naivasha rises

Several flower farmers around Lake Naivasha have suffered a double blow after their farms were flooded, following a sharp rise in the water body.

Greenhouses with flowers worth millions of shillings have been submerged in water, with fears that the damages could rise further as the lake levels continue to rise.

Already, the farms have recorded losses worth millions of shillings and sent their workforce home due to Covid-19 that led to the collapse of the Europe market.

Also affected by the rise of the lake water levels are hotels, small-scale farmers and residents of two informal settlements.

Among farms and hotels affected are Longonot and Valley Breeze, Crayfish, Marina, Buffalo Camp and Lake Naivasha Country Club.

A majority of the affected farms are those around the lake, with over 30 greenhouses submerged.

According to Water Resources Authority (WRA), the lake level is at 1,890.7 metres above sea level, the highest ever in 50 years.

Naivasha sub-regional manager Geoffrey Mworia said the lake was reclaiming its territory.

“In some of the cases pump houses that use diesel are already in water and this is a major threat to the lake’s fragile ecosystem,” he said.

Mr Mworia said they had in the past issued a notice to those living or farming around the lake to move out before the water levels rose.

He said there were fears of massive pollution of the lake from flooded latrines in the neighbouring Kihoto estate.

“Tens of families in Kihoto have been forced to relocate after their homes were flooded due to the ongoing rains,” he said.

A manager in one of the affected farms said this was the highest water levels they had recorded since they started operations, terming the damages as huge.

The manager who declined to be named said they were farming away from the riparian land, adding that already four of their greenhouses were in water.

“The lake has risen to worrying levels and we fear that we could be forced to relocate in the coming days if the rains continue,” he said.

Crayfish Hotel Managing Director Peter Mehta said some parts of the facility could not be accessed due to water from the lake.

“We have never witnessed anything of this kind and this is a second blow to us as we were forced to close down by the pandemic, which has wreaked havoc in nearly all sectors,” said Mr Mehta.