Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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Lake Kyoga

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Lake Kyoga is a shallow lake with a surface area of 4000 km2. Half a million people live on its shores as well as on some on the large masses of vegetation called sudds seen floating in the lake (see especially the 1986 image). These communities rely heavily on the lake for their livelihoods. However, in the early 2000s life on the Lake was disrupted following a rapid change in the water level as a result of El Nino rains in 1997 and 1998. The high water caused some of the sudds, along with dislodged papyrus beds and water hyacinth mats to block the lakes outlet.

The satellite images from 1974, 1986 and 2002 show the floating sudds on the lake. By 2002 many of these sudds had moved west blocking the outlet to the Nile River, leading to flooding in places surrounding the lake. The floods displaced people, destroyed infrastructure and disrupted livelihoods. Two channels were opened by Uganda’s Directorate of Water Development (DWD) in 2001-2002 and later on a team from Egypt had to dredge to allow water flow downstream.
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