A video explainer on why the lakes in the Great Rift Valley have been rising over the years
Lakes of Kenya’s Rift Valley have risen to levels not seen in at least half a century. The Great Rift Valley has been experiencing devastating flooding following months of extreme rainfall.
The rising of the area’s lakes have been damaging houses, schools and national parks. Locals have been driven to move their homes, grazing land and businesses to higher ground over the years. Scientists have linked the flooding and excess rainfall to a changing climate.
The swelling of Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria is threatening wildlife and livelihoods in the area. The two lakes, once 20km apart, are now so close together that there are fears they could contaminate each other. Neither lake has an outlet to allow excess water to flow out.
Both lakes play significant roles in sustaining local citizens, attracting tourists, and providing a home for many wildlife species. Lake Baringo provides irrigation and drinking water and is also home to Nile crocodiles. Lake Bogoria is a World Heritage site and home to hundreds of bird species, including as many as one million flamingos at times.
Two other critical habitats frequented by the migratory birds, Lake Elementaita and Lake Nakuru, are also brimming.
Government scientists are exploring possible causes for the drastic upwelling.
This includes whether silt flushing downstream from deforestation in the highland catchments could be reducing the lakes’ storage capacity.