Kenya Warns Two Lakes May Merge, Trigger Ecological Disaster

Kenyans are worried two lakes may trigger a huge ecological disaster if they merged as heavy rainfalls cause both to rise.

On the one hand is the Lake Baringo – a freshwater teeming with birds, fish, hippopotamuses and crocodiles. The river sustains tens of thousands of people.

Nearby is the alkaline Lake Bogoria.

Both lakes are rising due to months of unusual rainfall and are about to merge. Jackson Komen, senior warden for the government-run Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for Lake Baringo conservation area says if they do, none of the animals will survive.

He points out that their merging will be an ecological disaster, while also noting that there is only a small gap left between both Lakes.

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Baringo, which is used for irrigating land and drinking water, has expanded 60% to 270 square kilometres (105 square miles) in the last seven years, he said.

Lake Bogoria has swollen by a quarter to 43 square kilometres.

Conservationists say the rising waters are due to combination of unusually heavy rains and the silting up of the lakes.

Tor-Gunnar Vanegen, a scientist at the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry centre, said deforestation is causing erosion on nearby Tugen hills and the soil is washing into lake.

The flooding is driving farmers from their land and residents from their homes.

Three generations of the Roberts family grew up on Baringo’s shores but the thatched roofs of their safari camp are now forlorn islands surrounded by water. The distance between the two lakes has been halved already.

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“It is disheartening to watch the work that was done by your father and mother, and the work we have done ourselves, being destroyed by water,” said Murray Roberts, whose father built the camp.

Farmers say their grazing has been destroyed.

“I now have to start all over at new grounds. For now I live with my son close by,” said Lechaki Parsaalach, who has lost nine acres of land and his home.

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