SPILLAGE FEARED

Water drops in Turkwel Dam, residents relieved

It requires six months of continuous rainfall for the dam to spill over

In Summary

• Turkwel Dam was expected to over flow in heavy rains and displace more than 3,000 people in West Pokot and Turkana counties.

• But the rains stopped and water levels dropped significantly. No flooding. 

Water levels at Turkwel dam have dropped by 15 centimeters and the much-expected and spillover won't happen.

Residents living along the dam have feared the dam would spill over in mid-December last year. That would have displaced more than 3,000 people in West Pokot and Turkana counties.

The Kerio Valley Development Authority that manages the property said water levels have dropped significantly and there was no chance of spillover soon.

KVDA managing director Sammy Naporos said  low rainfall in Mt Elgon and Uganda have led to the dramatic drop in water levels.

“The dry spell in the catchment areas led to reduction in water levels. It requires six months of continuous rainfall for the dam to spill over,” he said.

Naporos assured residents in lowland areas that they can relax because there will be no flooding.

“The dam is stable, we have taken charge and our engineers are monitoring the structure,” he said.

He said in case of an emergency, the dam is designed to safely evacuate water through the spillways and low level outlets as necessary.

For the first time since 1990, the water rose to the highest level ever.

Resident Peter Lokiri said that they have been living in fear since the water began to rise significantly in May last year.

“We have not been sleeping comfortably. When we hear any loud bang at night we wake up and run thinking that the dam had spilled over,” he said.

Lokiri said that they will continue living a normal life for now.

(Edited by V. graham)