Impacts of population growth and economic development on water quality of a lake: case study of Lake Victoria Kenya water

Dauglas Juma, Hongtao Wang*, Fengting Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Anthropogenic-induced water quality pollution is a major environmental problem in freshwater ecosystems today. As a result of this, eutrophication of lakes occurs. Population and economic development are key drivers of water resource pollution. To evaluate how growth in the riparian population and in the gross domestic product (GDP) with unplanned development affects the water quality of the lake, this paper evaluates Lake Victoria Kenyan waters basin. Waters quality data between 1990 and 2012 were analyzed along with reviews of published literature, papers, and reports. The nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N), soluble phosphorus (PO4-P), chlorophyll a, and Secchi transparencies were evaluated as they are key water quality indicators. The NO3-N increased from 10 μg l-1 in 1990 to 98 μg 1-1 in 2008, while PO4-P increased from 4 μg l-1 in 1990 to 57 μg l-1 in 2008. The population and economic growth of Kenya are increasing with both having minimums in 1990 of 24.143 million people and 12.18 billion US dollars, to maximums in 2010 of 39.742 million people and 32.163 billion US dollars, respectively. A Secchi transparency is reducing with time, indicating an increasing pollution. This was confirmed by an increase in aquatic vegetation using an analysis of moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) images of 2000 and 2012 of Kenyan waters. This study found that increasing population and GDP increases pollution discharge thus polluting lakes. One of major factors causing lake water pollution is the unplanned or poor waste management policy and service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5737-5746
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Eutrophication
  • Kenya
  • Lake Victoria
  • Water pollution
  • Water quality


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