division is in the Western Province of Kenya. It lies to the north of Lake
Victoria near the Kenya-Uganda border. Rainfall pattern in Budalangi is
mainly bi-modal (two rainfall seasons in a year). The major season occurs
in March to May (the long-rains season) while the other season
(short-rains) occurs in October to December. However some areas receive
significant rainfall in August and September. The period June-July is
generally dry unlike other areas in western Kenya, which observe a major
rainfall peak during the period. The months of January and February are
also generally dry though occasional wet conditions may occur especially
Tana River district is in Coast Province of Kenya. The area may be considered a generally dry area. It also observes a bi-modal rainfall pattern (March-May and October-December) but the average rainfall peaks in both seasons fall below 100 mm. January-February and June-September are normally very dry.
Cause of Flooding
Budalangi and Tana River areas have been identified with floods for decades. Hundreds of people die and others get displaced due to the floods. As a matter of fact, the flooding does not occur due to heavy rainfall in the areas. Annual rainfall analyses indicate that the amounts of rainfall in the areas alone may not be enough to cause such floods.
This time round the serious flooding in Budalangi is occurring at a time when rainfall amounts in the area are quite low as compared to the surrounding areas. Massive water in-flows emanating from the bursting of River Nzoia banks happens to be the main cause of the floods. The River originates from two high-ground areas of Mt. Elgon and Cherengany Hills and drains into Lake Victoria. These two areas are known to have high rainfall amounts almost throughout the year. They receive average annual rainfall amounts of over 1250 mm while Budalangi area receives an average of about 1100 mm. The Nzoia River gathers strength as it flows downstream to an extent of bursting as it reaches the Budalangi areas. It all depends on the intensities of rainfall in the upstream regions Elgon, Cherengany and the surrounding areas.
Tana River District on the other hand has one of the lowest annual rainfall totals in Kenya. The area receives an annual rainfall total of about 430 mm. Mount Kenya areas Meru and Embu receive an annual total of over 1300 mm. These Mt. Kenya areas happen to be the source of River Tana, which drains into the Indian Ocean. On its way it meanders through Tana River district and more than often causes flooding in the area when it bursts as a result of volumes of water gathered from upstream. The flooding normally coincides with the two rainfall seasons in Mt. Kenya region (the long-rains and the short-rains).
Ways to Eliminate the Floods
The flooding in the two areas can only be arrested by constructing strong and high dikes, which are capable of resisting the strong currents of the two rivers. The construction of the dikes ought to be based on records of the highest amounts of rainfall ever recorded especially in the catchment areas of the two rivers. This would help in determining the height of the dikes to be constructed.
The other solution would be construction of dams to harness water for constructive use, e.g. hydroelectric power generation.