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Lake Victoria Basin: Atlas of our Changing Environment

15 Mar 2017

Draining an area of 194,200 km2 (Lake Victoria Basin Commission 2007a), Lake Victoria Basin is one of East Africa’s most prominent landmarks. It not only provides the headwaters of the White Nile but is also central to the development and regional integration of the East Africa Community. The Lake itself is shallow but in terms of surface area it is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, after Lake Superior in North America (Lake Victoria Basin Commission 2007a). Lake Victoria covers 68,800 km2 (Lake Victoria Basin Commission 2007b; World Agroforestry Centre 2006), with a 3,460 km shoreline and is bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; with Burundi and Rwanda also lying within the Lake Victoria Basin (Lake Victoria Basin Commission 2007a). A number of important rivers flow into Lake Victoria including the River Mara, Kagera, Yala, Nyando, Bukora and Katonga. The White Nile is the only river flowing out of the Lake (Lake Victoria Basin Commission 2007a). The Kagera (Akagera) River, which drains the mountains of Burundi and Rwanda and is the furthest and most remote headstream of the Nile River, is considered as the source of the Nile (Africa Facts 2016). 

Supporting a population of 40 million (World Bank 2016), the Lake Basin provides a variety of economic and development opportunities, including fisheries, tourism and transboundary conservation. However, these opportunities are hindered by a number of threats that include eutrophication, over-fishing, introduced exotic species and the impacts of climate change.

Status: Completed

Type: Environment Atlas

Author: Lake Victoria Basin Commission, GRID-Arendal

Year of publication: 2017

Publisher: GRID-Arendal

Tags: rivers lakes and streams Africa atlas energy forests industry infrastructure Lake Victoria land use transboundary governance water wetlands

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