Lake Victoria-Central Africa

Lake Victoria-Central Africa

Lake Victoria

The Problem

Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile River, straddles the countries of Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. It covers 68 800km², making it the third largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is in the Victoria Basin and fed by precipitation and thousands of streams. It has a shoreline of 4,828km with approximately 30 million people living inside its 184,000km² catchment area.

Due to the total absence of industrialisation, the population in the Victoria Basin is largely dependent on fishing as their primary source of food and income.

Lake Victoria is exhibiting eutrophic conditions due to the excessive introduction of nitrates and phosphates through sewage and waste effluent from the towns and villages on its perimeter. Due to poor sewage management in the basin, waste from approximately 4.5 million pit toilets has been seeping through the groundwater into the Lake over a long period of time. This has resulted in the degradation of the water quality to such an extent that certain fish species such as Cichlids have become extinct. The unfortunate consequence is that fishing quotas that the three countries have with the European Union cannot be fulfilled.

A second effect of the excessive nitration of the water is the infestation of almost half of the Lake with hyacinth, a condition that is clearly observable from space. The plant was first observed in 1988 and has since then rendered entire regions of the Lake inaccessible to fishermen.

The Solution

The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project’s executive secretary, Prof Joseph Oliambo. called Avantu to assist, as the EU fish supply contract was for KS15billion per annum. The World Bank funded Avantu product trials at the fishing villages to clean the water. The contaminants included:


Water hyacinth

Pit toilet faecal nutrient leachate

Protein from cleaning fish at the fishing villages

Avantu worked with the local fishermen to implement a dosing program. Avanut proprietary products- Pitking, Fatking, Biolake and FSR301 were applied by the fisherman from their boats. All the pit toilets pits were dosed with Pitking and Fatking to prevent any further leaching. A fish cleaning facility was installed at each fishing village. A Bio-degrading facility in a septic system was installed. As the water quality improved and the fish returned to being closer to the villages the fisherman did not have to travel so far catch fish.