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Fears of Looming Flooding at Turkwel Gorge Dam 

Two governors and two county commissioners on Wednesday led top delegations from their counties on a tour of Turkwel gorge dam amid fears that the dam might burst its banks leading to loss of lives.

Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Prof. John Lonyangopuo (West Pokot), with respective County Commissioners Muthama Wambua and Apollo Okelo, warned of an environmental disaster within the next two months, should the rains continue.

The weatherman has already issued a warning that ongoing rains might last till December.

Governor Nanok said the water levels at the dam has risen significantly, and has only about six metres before it can spill over, yet two months ago it stood at 10 metres.

“My major concern is whether we are prepared as county and national governments. We are not yet prepared because we do not have the contingency plan that was used to build the dam,” said Nanok.

He said more than 300,000 residents from Turkana county would be affected should the anticipated floods occur.

He added that 50 percent of the irrigation schemes in the county depend on water from river Turkwel and warned that they risk being destroyed should the dam spill over.

Nanok further said that Lodwar town where half the town is normally submerged by flood waters whenever it rains would not be spared.

On his part, Governor Lonyangopuo urged the Kerio Valley Development Authority which runs the dam to urgently convene a stakeholders meeting to address the looming crisis.

 

“The recent floods which we experienced in West Pokot swept away an entire town, Chesekon and we don’t want a repeat of the same,” said Lonyangopuo.

Water Resource Authority regional manager David Mumo Muchoki said they shall cooperate with stakeholders and wananchi to sensitize those dwelling downstream to relocate to higher grounds.

Commissioner Wambua cautioned those affected by previous floods to relocate immediately. “We warned the residents living in low areas to relocate before the last floods but many ignored and were affected,” he said.

 

By Peter Gitonga

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