Magadi may die in five years, warn experts

Lake Magadi, the only source of soda ash in the country, is facing extinction in the next five years as human activities threaten it with siltation.

This is according to the National Environment and Complaints Committee (NECC), which went on a fact-finding mission on the degradation of the lake’s five catchment areas in Narok County.

Committee Secretary John Chumo said unabated cultivation of catchment areas such as Nairagie-Enkare, Kormoto, Oloitip, Suswa and Oltapot has contributed to siltation in the lake situated 640 metres above sea level.
“The upper catchment areas are 2,000 metres above sea level, making the lake vulnerable to siltation due to soil deposits carried by River Kisamis downwards,” said Dr Chumo.

He said 30 per cent of Lake Magadi is already covered by silt and should siltation continue the lake will completely disappear in the next five years.

Chumo said the lake contributes over Sh5 billion annually in foreign exchange and supports the livelihoods of the local community.

Since 2005, however the lake has continued to dwindle due to siltation estimated at 8,000 tonnes on every rainy day.

Chumo urged the national government to engage the ministries of Environment, Lands, Water and Roads, the Kenya Water Towers Agency and the private sector in saving the lake.

Ezekiel Leposo, a resident of Nairege-Enkare, said flood waters has sunk huge holes and cracks in the villages.

“There is a huge crack where flood waters disappear underground. We never knew where the water ends up, only to learn that they flow all the way to Lake Magadi,” he said.

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