Turkana pastoralists ask county to harvest floodwater

The national and county governments have the responsibility to ensure that residents get services

In Summary

• The prolonged drought has led to the drying up of water pans, boreholes and dams in Turkana.

• The county urged to build big dams to harvest water during the ongoing heavy rains.

Goats at a watering point in Turkana
BIG DAMS ARE THE SOLUTION: Goats at a watering point in Turkana

Turkana herders have asked the county government to harvest floods to mitigate water shortage.

The prolonged drought in the region has resulted in the drying up of most water pans, boreholes and dams.

Shadrack Lorogoi, a pastoralist in Kakuma, said the county government and other authorities should build big dams for storage of water now that heavy rains are p0unding some parts of the region. 

“We are tired of begging for food and water from humanitarian agencies, county and national governments. When the election comes, we elect leaders to serve our interests but they have not fulfilled what they promised. We need big dams to harvest more water as we are experiencing flash floods in the region," Lorogoi said.

Joseph Ekaru from Lodwar urged local leaders to move with speed and help in harvesting water. He said the national and county governments have the responsibility of ensuring that residents get services. 

Philip Ewoton, another Lodwar resident, accused national and county government officials of only promising big dams and do nothing. He said dams with adequate water storage capacity were the solution to the perennial starvation in Turkana.

Peter Ekutan, a pastoralist in Kibish subcounty said drought forces them to cross the border to Ethiopia and South Sudan in search of water and pasture.

"There is a need for our own government to build big dams that can collect more water when it rains. Dry seasons force us to move into insecure regions with our animals in search of water and pasture. We risk being attacked by cattle rustlers, " he said.

Most parts of Turkana received rains, the first time since last year in April, on Sunday.