Baringo Senator Gideon Moi yesterday visited parts of Lake Baringo to assess the damages after it flooded when the lake broke its banks.
Gideon landed at Ng’ambo where he met some of those affected by the floods and said he will engage the national government, the National Irrigation Authority and Geothermal Development Company to explore the possibility of digging a tunnel to drain excess water and have the issue of floods sorted once and for all.
Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria swelled spilling their waters into the nearby villages, displacing hundreds in the process.
A July 26 Report by Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, commissioned by the senator, revealed that Lake Baringo has changed fundamentally in recent years with the rising water levels submerging structures and displacing people near its shores.
“The increase in levels of water in the lake led to massive flooding in the nearby villages.
“Notably, there was the destruction of infrastructure, loss of biodiversity and increased risk from waterborne diseases as well as a general loss of livelihoods by local communities,” reads the report in part.
Water Resources Authority (WRA), in 2013, reported that the estimated level of water in Lake Baringo at the end of August 2012 was more than eight metres and that all the gauging equipment had been submerged.
Toilets in the nearby Department of Fisheries building and fish stores were submerged, as were several hotels, including Lake Baringo Block Hotel, Highland Camp, part of Soi Lodge, Roberts’s Camp and the County Council of Baringo Reptile Centre.
Several homesteads were submerged, displacing vulnerable members of the nearby communities. Local health facilities were also submerged or threatened by flooding.
Residents said frequent flooding of the two lakes has caused them untold suffering over the years and that they need a lasting solution.
In Baringo, flood waters submerged entire villages, displacing the communities and their livestock, according to the assessment carried out in the affected areas by the WRA technical team in June. At least eight schools in the villages along with health centers were submerged.
At Ilchamus village, 200 households were displaced, the report shows. Ng’ambo primary and secondary schools, Sintaan Primary School, Ngambo police post and a chief’s office were submerged.
At Kampi ya Samaki on Longicharo Island, a giraffe habitat has been submerged. Others affected were Soi Safari Lodge and Lake Baringo Fisheries Department.
At Loruk Centre, along the Marigat-Chemolingot Road, over 100 households have been displaced. The Marigat-Loruk road was also destroyed.
The agency, in the report, noted that flooding of the lake since 2011 has affected residents, especially in the central Rift Valley.
Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency called for a long-term plan to manage the lakes. “Given that the Rift Valley lakes are influenced by tectonics, there is a possibility that there could be an influx of geothermal water also contributing to an increase in the lakes’ levels.
“This needs to be further investigated. In addition, we need to look into the impacts of contaminated surface water and groundwater,” reads the report.
There is also a need for further research on sources and effects of increased water volumes in the lakes on biodiversity and the local community, it adds.
The report proposed use of a canal to drain the flood waters. The water, as per the report, will be used to irrigate lands downstream, increasing food security and fostering peace in the volatile area of Tiaty and Turkana South that suffer from water shortages.
The agency advised that there is need for a study on the geological nature of the rocks underneath.