On 7th May 2020, the water levels of Lake Victoria, arguably Africa’s largest fresh water body read 13.40 metres.
The mark is only 0.01 meters shy of the highest ever water level of 13.41 recorded on 12th May, 1964.
The rise in water levels has hence forth had far reaching adverse effects to the shores of the lake, over-flooding the surrounding areas as beaches, gardens and residences.
A number of beach soccer facilities in Uganda are natural in nature, many of which are in Entebbe and the surrounding areas.
Beaches as Lido, Spennah, White Sand, Sports beach, Pencil, Aero, Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC), Botancial Gardens, Banga, Anderita, Kitinda, Garuga, Lutembe, Kisubi, Gaba, Munyonyo, Mutoola among others have all been left with flooded effects.
Virtually, there is no space that currently makes a standard beach soccer facility and this leaves the Uganda Beach Soccer Association (UBSA) between a rock and a hard place.
UBSA Chairman Deo Mutabazi remains positive that the flooded beaches will return to normal as time passes by and in any case, they a plan B just in case the situation worsen.
The water levels on natural beaches along Lake Victoria have always had such challenges. We remain optimistic that the situation will normalize with time. Also, as UBSA, we had already started on-lake beach soccer facilities. There is one at the FUFA Technical Center, another at Busoga University where the 2017 beach soccer inter-university games were held and a proposed one at Mandela National Stadium, NambooleDeo Mutabazi, Uganda Beach Soccer Association (UBSA) Chairman
According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, the rise in water level had drastically shot up from the average 12.00 meters to 13.32 meters as of 30th April 2020 to the present state.
This was attributed to the increased rains as well as the expanded exit gates to spill water into River Nile in Jinja.
It should be noted that in 1964 when the water level reached 13.41 metres, there was only one exit gate allowing 1,300 cubic metres per second.
Uganda has two exit gates, and can release up to 3,000 cubic metres of water to go through.
The worrying situation even prompted President Yoweri Museveni to make necessary a stopover at Kitubulu, Katabi Town Council on Entebbe Road, to observe, for himself Lake Victoria’s ever increasing shores.
The President has henceforth ordered the people settled near the shores and the banks of River Nile to get off as a precaution.
It will not damage our dams but people near the shore and river banks should get out, they could be swallowed by the water. Even where I was standing there, the water came up to where I was. People should be 500 meters from the shoreH.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Republic of Uganda
The water level on Lake Victoria and other water bodies has risen due to Intensive and prolonged rainfall in Uganda and in the East African basin.
Experts warn has also been made worse by environmental degradation and urbanization that has caused a disruption on the water bodies.
The rise of 1.40 meters was attained in only 6 months. Several settlements and developments around Lake Victoria and River Nile have been affected including beaches and some individual houses are already flooded.
Other impacts of the rising water levels are; dislodgement of papyrus mats from encroached shorelines resulting into huge mass of floating Islands which are dangerous to hydropower infrastructure.
Lake Victoria is a huge trans-boundary water body shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with about 23 rivers that bring water into it, but with only one exit through River Nile at Jinja.
The Executive Director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Tom Okurut advises the affected residents including to vacant the natural habitants lest they will be forcefully evicted.
UBSA organizes most of their events in Entebbe at Lido and Sports beaches as well as the Mutoola facility which is found in Buikwe.
Besides the main league, UBSA also holds the famous Muwanguzi cup, inter-schools (secondary), inter-universities, corporate league as well as the national team (Uganda Sand Cranes).
For starters, Uganda was accorded the hosting rights of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations beach soccer championship.
The venue is yet to be confirmed by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA).