Published: 18 May 2021
Since March 2020, the Lake Tanganyika water has risen to an incredible level. This year 2021, it rose to more than fifty meters.
According to the geographical expert, he recalled that the level of Lake Tanganyika fluctuates in the order of 0.8m naturally depending on the seasons.
These fluctuations are the consequences of a change in the balance between water inflows (rainfall at the lake level and the start of the outflow at the Lukuga River at Kalemie in the DRC.
Since the 19th century, the level of the lake has experienced significant fluctuations with the level of 772.5 in 1902. The observed amplitude is 11m. The last significant rise in the level of the lake dates from 1964-1965 with a level of 776.5m. The periods of rise and fall of the lake level can be long causing the lake level to move away permanently of the average value of 772.7m. Generally, this phenomenon can be observed at the level of the other lakes of East Africa.
According to local sources, in the Kibenga and Kajaga, Rumonge and Nyanza-lac districts, Lake Tanganyika has not stopped reclaiming its space that human activity had taken from it.
Residential houses, schools, streets and roads are flooded and become blocked, not to mention abandoned places of recreation, such is the situation prevailing on the shore of Lake Tanganyika today.
In rural Kibenga, some inhabitants have had to leave their localities for a year already. Typical examples are Bar Lacosta, Beach safari, vodo saga, zion Beach, Gâte safari, Safi Beach. Some of these infrastructures are still under water. The local population lives in fear.
Nzero Avenue users have noted the inaccessibility of the road due to the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika. Nzero is located in the Kinindo West district of Muha commune. Some residents have adopted new strategies of building retaining walls others put sand in bags around their houses to prevent water from entering houses.
Masons say that although this terrible current situation, there has been an increase in employment for the construction of walls, ditches for the reduction of water entering houses.
Towards finding sustainable solution?
The Lake Tanganyika authority in Burundi, in partnership with the SHER study office (Namur Belgium), under financial support from the European Union, they decided to invest in the formulation of a new project dedicated to “the quantitative monitoring of water resources in Lake Tanganyika in connection with climate change"
The objective of this project is to have a modern and efficient system of monitoring the level of Lake Tanganyika in order to know with precision the inflows and losses of water that define the level of the lake. Surveillance, campaigning and warning tools could also be developed for the benefit of the riparian countries and the benefit of the populations. This project will also help to develop the knowledge of research institutions and universities in riparian countries.
However the current situation is, people continue to build houses on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The population calls on the government to apply adequate measures to protect the residents of Lake Tanganyika.
Fabrice AHISHAKIYE/ National Technical Support Expert/ NDF BURUNDI