Kenya could lose access to Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake, in 400 years after it dries up due to climate change, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Houston also found that one of its two sources of water, the White Nile could lose the water in less than 100 years. In the research published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, the researchers studied how the lake levels respond to changes in evaporation, temperature, rainfall, and solar energy.
Comparing the ancient sediment along the edges of the lake, showed that the lake levels declined rapidly thousands of years ago, and could happen in the next years as well. Emily Beverly, assistant professor of sedimentary geology at the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, along with researchers at Baylor University wrote: “Our model predicts that at current rates of temperature change and previous rates of lake level fall, Lake Victoria could have no outlet to the White Nile in as little as 10 years”.
This would be tragic to the communities living around the lake as more as 40 million people. The Food and Agriculture Organisation terms Lake Victoria as an ecosystem that supports the most productive freshwater ﬁshery in the world, with annual ﬁsh yields exceeding 300,000 tons, worth US$600 million annually. The United Nations estimates that the population growth rate of the riparian municipalities of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania is about 6 per cent per annum, among the highest in the world. More than 70 per cent of the population around the lake are small scale farmers for sugar, tea, coffee, maize, cotton horticultural products, and livestock keeping.