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Lake Victoria Moves from Source of Good to Threat

In recent weeks, water levels in Lake Victoria have reached unprecedented heights as a result of heavy rains in the East African region which started in August 2019. Some say the lake’s levels have not been this high for 50 years. According to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, the lake hit a new record level of 13.42 meters – marginally higher than the 13.41 meter mark recorded in 1964. Nestled between Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Lake Victoria supports the livelihoods of over 35 million people and is crucial for many sectors. The rising water levels have been devastating, particularly for those that live close to the lake and depend on it. The lake supports fisheries, agriculture (through providing irrigation), hydropower (mainly for Uganda), domestic water supply and industry. The lake is also an important tourist destination and provides the habitat for many key species – such as endemic cichlid fishes, birds and sitatunga antelopes. Because of the floods, it’s been reported that over 200,000 people have been displaced in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.