‘People Living along the River Turkwell Should Move to Safety- Governor Nanok’

Turkwell, 29th July 2020 (Governor’s Press Service)  

“Move away from the bank of River Turkwell”, Governor Josphat Nanok warns residents.

Speaking while touring Turkwell Hydro-Electric Dam, Governor Nanok advised residents of Lodwar and other areas along the bank of River Turkwell that there is an impending disaster emanating from spillage from the dam.

Nanok observed that the continuous increase of water level in the dam was likely to wreck havoc if rain continues in couple of months.

He urged stakeholders managing the Dam to involve County Governments with information used in the design of the dam to inform better plans to avoid impending disaster around and downstream.

He decried lack of involvement in policy and technical planning to prevent loss of lives and property, saying that the issue is being taken lightly by those concerned.

”Let’s not wait for the disaster to strike.We must act to avert the crisis, otherwise the communities downstream will sue you if something happens to them,” Nanok said.

He said that he had written a letter to the concerned ministries in March this year on the possibility of involving County Governments in disaster preparedness before spill over of the water.

He added that his letter was in response of a report that the dam was about to spill over which can be aggravated by the rains that will end in December according to Meteorological Department.

“It is remaining a few meters and in four months we will experience spillage exceeding normal flooding due to the rains that have already started that will go until December,” he said.

He reiterated that the National Ministries concerned should help to avert the situation by having a plan in place that will also bring in County governments technical team.

The Governor said he wanted to find out what measures has been put in place by the authorities to avert danger since the dam is now 1143 meters above sea level.

According to Kengen and Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) the dam was designed to spill over at 1,150 meters above sea level.They added that in March the volume of water had reached 1, 140 meters above sea level which is a pointer to the risks of spill over.

Governor warned that by October the dam was likely spill over and this will affect 50% of the population who depend on the River Turkwell for livelihoods.

He also pointed out that Lodwar town was at risk of being wiped out as it is too close to the river bank.

He said the two Governors are not being consulted in disaster preparednes adding that a meeting will be held in two weeks’ time to address the problem.

Rift Valley Water Resource Management Authority Officer David Musyoki advised residents around and downstream to start moving out of flood course.

”We don’t want a repeat of the situation which occured in October incident where Turkwell River flooded homes, businesses and offices causing great *loss of lives, property and livelihoods especially around Lodwar town due to spill over of the dam that excerbated normal flooding levels,” he said.

Officers from KENGEN and KVDA were put to task to hold a crisis meeting in the next two weeks and I volve stakeholders to review the data of the dam and find a suitable solution to prevent disaster.

Present during the joint press briefing was the Governor of West Pokot Prof John Lonyangapuo, County Commissioner of West Pokot County and Turkana County.