Thursday, March 30, 2006
Lake Victoria's Water Level Dropping
Though pastoral when British explorer John Hanning Speke became the first European to explore its shores, today, Lake Victoria in East Africa is one of the most populous regions in the world. The lake provides food, transport, and electricity to more than 30 million people, but its resources are limited. Despite its impressive size—it’s the third-largest lake in the world—Lake Victoria is shallow, resembling, in Speke’s words, “the temporary deposit of a vast flood overspreading a large flat surface.” Until the Owens Falls Dam began to regulate water levels from the lake’s only outlet in 1954, the amount of water in the lake jumped drastically from year to year depending on rainfall. Though water levels continued to vary after the dam was built, they remained more than 11.9 meters above a gauge in Jinja, Uganda. But in early 2006, the Jason-1 satellite revealed that Lake Victoria had reached lows not seen since well before the dam was built.
Read more here.
This is major. Humans haave already fucked up Lake Victoria by introducing a food and game fish, the Nile Perch, to the lake which has decimated the native fish populations, increased runoff and nutrients are also creating hazards for these cichlids which use visual cues to spawn, among many other problems facing the lake. This is a sad sad time for the African Rift Lakes...