An Investigation of Kagera River Basin Land Cover Dynamics for Sustainability of Lake Victoria Water Regime

  •  M. Hagai    


This paper is reporting on an investigation done to assess land cover dynamics in KRB(Kagera River Basin) (KRB) over a period of 21 years i.e.1990-2011 using Remote Sensing, Hydrology and GIS techniques as a basis for initiating policy interventions for sustainability of Lake Victoria water regime.The extent of land cover changes in the KRB have not been quantified with the view of assessing the extent of exploitation of the natural resources.The assessment is important firstly for identification of causative factors and secondly as a mechanism for formulating necessary policies and remedial measures to that effect.Specifically, Landsat 5, Landsat 7 and ETM+ (2000) satellite images were used.Eight Land Cover classes were identified namely, Forests, Woodland, Bushland, Cultivated Land, Swamps, Grassland, Bareland and Urban areas.Hydrographical data were used to assess changes in quantity of water flowing from the KRB into Lake Victoria and relating it with land cover changes in KRB at in the period of study. Spatial data processing, analysis and interpretation were carried out in ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS software environments; while water quantity data and other non spatial data were processed and analyzed in Microsoft Excel application 2007.

The study revealed a significant decline of vegetation cover and water quantity discharged from Kagera River to Lake Victoria over the study period. This contravenes the global efforts of ecological sustainability, which urge avoidance of depletion of natural resources for maintenance for ecological balance. These results are in early warning to the Management of Lake Victoria for its potential failure towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal on responsible consumption and protection of natural resources in proximity with Lake Victoria. The Management of Lake Victoria in collaboration with other relevant authorities should thus, take remedial measures to control further depletion of vegetation cover in KRB for sustainability of Lake Victoria and its ecosystem.

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