Climatic Change

, Volume 89, Issue 3–4, pp 281–297 | Cite as

Falling Lake Victoria water levels: Is climate a contributing factor?

  • Joseph L. AwangeEmail author
  • Laban Ogalo
  • Kwang-Ho Bae
  • Paul Were
  • Philip Omondi
  • Paul Omute
  • Monica Omullo


Recently, and perhaps most threatening, Lake Victoria water level has been receding at an alarming rate. A recent study suggested the possibility of the expanded hydroelectric power station in Uganda. However, since the lake receives 80% of its refill through direct rainfall and only 20% from the basin discharge, climatic contributions cannot be ignored, since the 80% water is directly dependant on it. It is therefore necessary to investigate climatic contribution to the declining Lake Victoria water level observed over a long period, i.e., 30 years. This contribution uses 30 years period anomalies for rainfall, river discharge and lake level changes of stations within Lake Victoria basin to analyse linear and cyclic trends of climate indicators in relation to Lake levels. Linear trend analysis using the Student’s t test indicate a decreasing pattern in rainfall anomalies, with the slope being statistically similar to those of water levels at both Kisumu, Maziba and Jinja stations for the same period of time (1976–1999), thus showing a strong correlation. On the other hand, cyclic trend analysis using Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) shows cyclic period of water level to coincide with those of droughts and rainfall. The strong relationship between climatic indicators of drought and rainfall on one-hand and lake levels on the other hand signifies the need to incorporate climate information in predicting, monitoring and managing lake level changes.


Lake Level Rainfall Anomaly Lake Water Level Lake Victoria Basin Lake Victoria Region 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph L. Awange
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laban Ogalo
    • 2
  • Kwang-Ho Bae
    • 1
  • Paul Were
    • 3
  • Philip Omondi
    • 2
  • Paul Omute
    • 1
  • Monica Omullo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Spatial Sciences, Division of Science and EngineeringCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia
  2. 2.IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC)NairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of Environment SciencesMaseno UniversityMasenoKenya

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