Water level lowest since 1923 Lake Manyara is drying up. This time it is for real. Extensive and irresponsible agricultural activities along their banks are slowly but surely drying up the rivers that feed the Rift-Valley Lake. Ecologists warn that unless drastic measures are taken, the water feature may totally disappear in ten years time Ms Yustina Kiwango an ecologist at Lake Manyara National Park said the remaining water depth, even during this rainy season, is just around 30 centimeters. For the past 200 years, the lake depth had averaged at six meters (6000 centimeters), she explained. This year the deepness stands at just 30 centimeters or 0.3 meters, about 200 times less than the previous average. The ecologist has explained that this reduction of over 99.5 percent in water depth was last recorded in 1923 when a major drought spell hit most parts of East and central Africa causing a number of rivers and lakes to dry up. The decreasing depth has apparently been going in sync with its fast shrinking water surface area. A recent visit to the National park has revealed just a tiny section of the lake basin being covered with water with the rest featuring caking mud and alkaline dust, dotted with hooves prints of animals, mostly buffaloes and elephants. The lakes demise has however nothing to do with global climate change. The major problem here is farming, the ongoing cultivation along the three rivers that pump water into Lake Manyara hasnt only reduced water flow but it is also been causing massive siltation in the basin reducing depth and leading to rapid water evaporation, Ms Kiwango maintained. Lake Manyara draws water from Kirurumo, Simba and Mto-wa-Mbu rivers along which major agricultural activities are now taking place including rice farming that demand plenty of water for irrigation, causing farmers to block river flows from their natural course into their farm channels. The little remaining flow carries mounds of soil, manure and other farm debris into the lake . Described by travel and adventure writer Ernest Hemingway to be the "loveliest lake in Africa," Lake Manyara, around which the corresponding National park is mapped, covers more than 230 square kilometers of the Rift Valley. It is also the home of a diverse set of landscapes and wildlife. Source: Arusha times.