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Uganda dam cuts praised as helping Lake Victoria

Written by: Staff
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KISUMU, Kenya, Mar 17 (Reuters) East African has environmentalists praised Uganda for cutting inflows at two Nile dams saying it would help check falling water levels on Lake Victoria, the continent's biggest lake.

About 30 million people depend on the lake for their livelihoods but experts say it is at an 80-year-low, partly owing to months of drought.

Last month, Uganda reduced inflows at its Kiira and Nalubaale hydro power dams just north of the lake by about a third after being accused of draining the lake to maintain its electricity supplies.

Stephen Njoka, of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Programme, yessterday said it was a positive step.

''It would indeed help check the falling water levels because a lot of water was lost through the dams,'' he told Reuters.

Njoka said the power stations were responsible for half of the lake's depletion, echoing recent U.N. charges that Uganda's dams are as much to blame as drought for the lake's shortfall.

Any plan to protect the lake and the thriving fish export industry in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania must include wetland conservation to preserve the in-flow of the water, he said.

The East African Community also praised Uganda's move yesterday and said it would review the situation after 90 days.

REUTERS PK VC0844

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