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Weatherman warns of impending flooding of Turkwel dam

Residents living near river Turkwel have been urged to relocate to higher grounds to avoid being swept away by the floods from Turkwel dam.


County director of meteorological services Francis Muinda on Wednesday said the dam was only remaining with 3.61 metres before reaching the spilling level.


“Turkwel Dam level on 9/9/2020 at 6AM is at 1146.39 metres above sea level. We have 3.61 metres remaining before spilling level,” Muinda noted.


He said there has been a marginal rise in dam level by 1 centimeter as compared to yesterday.


According to Muinda, who has been in constant communication with KenGen officers operating at the dam, a flood advisory would be issued when the water level reaches 1147 meters.


He added that a flood warning would be issued when the water level reaches 1148 meters at which point all those living near the dam would be forced to relocate. 1149 meters is considered the high alert phase.


According to the weather forecast, rains will continue from September to the third and fourth week of December.


Turkana County Commissioner Muthama Wambua has said those living near the dam and lowlands should not wait for the floods and should relocate immediately.


“We don’t want to wait until the last minute. Those living in low areas should move to higher areas so that we prevent loss of lives,” said Wambua.


Speaking during a recent tour of the dam, Governor Josphat Nanok said 300, 000 people in Turkana County would be affected should the dam spill over.


“About 50 percent of the irrigation schemes in the county that depend on water from river Turkwel would be destroyed should the dam spill over,” Nanok added.


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


West Pokot governor John Lonyangopuo who had accompanied Nanok 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 County swept away an entire town -Chesekon and we don’t want a repeat of the same,” said Lonyangopuo.


Meanwhile, hundreds of fisher folk have been affected by the rising water level at lake Turkana and persons living near the shores of lake Turkana have also been forced to relocate from their homes.


Turkana central sub county fisheries officer Moses Njeru said 14, 000 fishermen have been affected by the flooding at the lake. “There is no fishing activity going on due to the high water levels,” said Njeru.

The water level has risen to 800 metres from 500 metres. Former beaches, hotels, homes and government offices are under water and thousands of people have been displaced.

By Peter Gitonga


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