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Experts warn over water levels in Lake Victoria

ROUND TABLE
By | May 21st 2009

By Kepher Otieno

Experts in East Africa have raised fresh concern over the continued recession of Lake Victoria water levels.

Consequently, they want the East African Community States to enact common legislation to promote harvesting of rainwater to reduce over-reliance on the lake.

Delegates attending an EAC meeting in Kisumu expressed fear that the dwindling waters of Lake Victoria water levels was draining threatened communities.

Mr Gerson Fumbuka of Lake Victoria Basin Commission said the aim of developing the rainwater policy was to ensure control in lake water.

"Most people abuse usage of the lake, yet we depend on it as our basic source of food," said Fumbuka.

Dispose sewage

He called for tough legislations to deal with companies that dispose of sewage into the lake.

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He said the lake first dried out 17,300 years ago but filled again 14,700 years ago.

Fumbuka told EAC delegates that the lake shallowness, limited river inflow and large surface area made it vulnerable to climate change, and that is why it dried up at times.

"Water levels in Lake Victoria were unusually high from the mid-1960s until December, 2005. Since then water levels dropped roughly by a metre," he said. He was presenting a paper during the regional transport corridor HIV and Aids Multi-sectoral meeting at a Kisumu Hotel.

EAC Deputy Secretary General (Productive and Social Sector) Jean Nsengiyumva and Nyanza PC Paul Olando opened the meeting.

The two-day conference brought together more than 100 participants from the national and regional levels and EAC Parliamentary Committees responsible for Health and Social Affairs, including HIV and Aids.

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