Lake faces extinction as feeder rivers dry up

The three rivers that feed the world-famous Lake Nakuru have dried up. This means that the salty lake is no longer a safe home for millions of flamingoes, which have made the lake a leading tourist attraction.

The drying of rivers Njoro, Makalia and Nderit has been blamed on the massive destruction of the Mau Forest Complex. River Molo, which also has its source in the Mau, no longer finds its way to Lake Baringo, another tourist destination.

River Perkerra, popularly known for the irrigation schemes in the arid lower parts of Baringo is also dwindling, no thanks to environmental degradation in the Mau.

Perkerra originates from Lembus forest which is part of the larger Mau Forest Complex which has 22 blocks namely Likia, Eburru, Nessuinet, Logoman, Ndoinet, Bararget, Tinet, East Mau and Sururu among others.

Other rivers that have been affected are Mara and Sondu.

Kenya Wildlife Service assistant director in charge of Central Rift conservation area, Ms Anne Kahihia, said the lake might be extinct in five years .

“We had good rains last year and the rivers flowed into the lake for three months. That is the water that is sustaining the lake to date,” she said.

River Lamuadiac, an underground water source inside the park, dried up many years ago, she added.

Looming disaster

Ms Kahihia warned of a looming disaster if destruction of the Mau Forest Complex and other catchment areas was not stopped.

She said KWS was spending Sh250,000 per month to provide water for wildlife at the Lake Nakuru National Park.

Water levels in the Mara (below), famed for the annual wildebeest migration, are very low. The spectacular event, listed as one of the new natural wonders of the world, was not as dramatic this year because of low water levels.