BUJUMBURA July 14th (ABP) – The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, in collaboration with the Lake Tanganyika Authority (ALT), organized on Monday July 12, in Bujumbura, a workshop for restitution and information on the role played by the Lukuga River on the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika.
At the opening of the workshop, Minister Déo Guide Rurema indicated that this one-day meeting was to discuss with the stakeholders on the phenomenon of the rising waters of the lake and the solutions to be undertaken, to inform the people and all the stakeholders on the actions that the government of Burundi, in collaboration with the technical and financial partners, through the Ministry in charge of the Environment, is carrying out following the recommendations made during a workshop held on February 21, 2021 in Bujumbura with all stakeholders.
According to ALT Executive Director Sylvain Tusanga Mukanga, a team of experts from ALT member States visited the Lukuga River, which is an executor of Lake Tanganyika, in order to identify all the factors which were previously deemed probable to be the cause of the spectacular rise in the level of the lake’s water which caused a lot of damage throughout the region, more particularly in the city of Bujumbura and that of Uvira.
For him, participation in that workshop reflects the importance that stakeholders attach to this issue which, at present, constitutes one of the challenges linked to the effects of climate change which affect the common natural heritage which is the Lake Tanganyika, with all its biological diversity.
He announced on that occasion that the impact of climate change and its effects on the sustainable management of Lake Tanganyika and its basin, as well as the issue of the rising waters of the lake will be on the agenda of the next conference of ALT ministers to be held in Tanzania before the end of this year. This already deserves careful consideration at the level of each State.
According to Engineer Jéremie Nkinahatemba who was part of the team of experts who carried out the mission on the Lukuga at Kalemie in the DRC, the latter noticed, in fact, that there is no dam on the Lukuga River which may have caused the lake water level to rise rapidly in the four countries bordering the lake, as rumors that circulated shortly after this event suggested.
The dam that had been built by the colonial government in 1941 to control the levers of water in the lake and its flow was destroyed. The water level at Kalemie port has reached its peak, and the level appears to remain constant for several months, according to Nkinahatemba.
The mission recommended to the countries bordering the lake to carry out a regional study on the variation of the water levels of the lake. The latter should be carried out in the lake basin in order to identify the factors leading to the drop and rise in lake water levels. The study should, moreover, propose solutions and actions to be taken, in the long term, within the region. The actions to be carried out are, among others, the widening of the bed of the Lukuga River at the level of its source, the cleaning and the construction of a regulation dam on the same river, and the development of the main rivers which flow in the lake.
According to Expert Nkinahatemba, the banks and basins of the main rivers flowing into the lake should be protected, which will also reduce the sediments flowing into the lake and the pollution of this lake ecosystem, maintain and restore wetlands and establish a common no man’s land for the four countries.