Leaders call for urgent meeting to address pending Turkwel dam spillover

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo speaking at the Turkwel dam

Close to 300,000 people are likely to be displaced In the likelihood of a pending spillover after water levels in Turkwel Dam rose swiftly recently after heavy rains experienced in the country.

This was revealed by leaders from West Pokot and Turkana Counties who visited the dam to check on the rising water levels which has inflicted fear to locals living near the dam and along river Turkwel.

According to Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok the dam has a space of 6 meters before it spills over something which has never happened since the dam was constructed.

He added that the biggest issue is all about preparedness incase of spillage, citing that leaders do not know the contingency plan that was used to construct the dam.

“Lodwar town is facing lots of danger because the Turkwel river cuts across the town, I don’t want to imagine the damages if the Turkwel dam will burst,” he said.

He noted that most of the infrastructures in Turkana County is dependent on River Turkwel and also 50% of irrigation schemes depend on River Turkwel.

He urged the Devolution Ministry to convene an urgent meeting so that a technical team can be rolled out to prepare and update the contingency plans for the dam before it spills over.

“We don’t want to be like those dams in Tana River that force residents living in Garissa town to flee three days before they prepared for the floods.”  

West Pokot County Governor John Lonyangapuo called on Kerio Valley Development Authority management to call for a special stakeholders meeting within a week to address the pending crisis.

West pokot County commissioner Apollo Okello said the spill over will affect hundreds of people hence urged officials managing the dam to be on the watch out on the rising water levels and inform the public before they are swept away by flash floods.

“We’ll keep on informing the public on how the water levels are increasing. They will have to migrate earlier before the dam bursts,” he said.

He noted that the probability of the dam spilling is too high hence asked locals living near the dam to migrate to safe areas.

Turkana County commissioner Muthama Wambua said they will have a joint meeting to deliberate on how the locals will be assisted in case any emergency arises.

Water resources authority regional manager David Mumo Musyoki called for cooperation among stakeholders to sensitize those living down stream to relocate to higher grounds.