The recent surge in the water levels of Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes is a major cause for alarm. The flooded Lakes Baringo, Nakuru, Turkana and Naivasha have seen many households displaced from their abode.
Kenya’s Rift Valley Lakes Flooding
Scientists argue that the floods are due to plate tectonics and crustal motion, above-average rainfall, land use changes, loss of wetlands and riparian zone encroachment.
According to scientists, the unprecedented water levels in most of the Rift Valley lakes is due to groundwater course, direct rainfall and underground geothermal fields.
There are several lakes along the bed of the Rift Valley, which stretches from the Red Sea in the North to Mozambique in the Southern region. Studies show that there are eight lakes in the eastern Rift Valley.
The rising water levels is a worrying trend given that it has led to the destruction of many homes, schools, infrastructure and displacement of terrestrial animals.
According to Quartz Africa, at least 5000 people have been displaced this year due to the rising waters of Lake Baringo.
Studies show that Kenya recorded the highest amount of downpour over the last decade between October and December 2019.
The same scenario recurred in 2020 where some areas recorded 400% above the normal.
The persistent rainfall resulted to saturated catchment ground, ultimately causing floods. In May 2020, Lake Naivasha recorded the highest level of water level since 1932.
Lakes Bogoria, Baringo and Nakuru also recorded the highest water levels of the decade.
Similar observations indicated that Lake Turkana’s current water level was lastly witnessed in 1970s.