Lake Turkana covers an area of 6,405 km² making it the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake.By volume it is the world’s fourth-largest salt lake. Over 90% of the lake is on the Kenyan side where it is sandwiched between two of Kenya’s largest and northernmost counties. It has three inlets: Rivers Omo on the Ethiopian side, Turkwel and Kerio.
Turkana basin stretches several square kilometers and is a source of important fossil and archaeological evidence for all major stages of human development. It is anarid scrubland inhabited by a community of Turkana, Daasanach, Nyangatom and Pokot people.
At 77,000 sq. km, Turkana County is the second largest county, which is 13 per cent of Kenya. The county inhabited by over a million people is governed by the Turkana County Government in collaboration with the national government. The county has six constituencies and 30 electoral wards:
Traditionally the people of Turkana County keep cattle and fish from the lake but recently some have started practicing farming in irrigation schemes. However, it is it the discovery of substantial oil deposits that is poised to be the economic mainstay of the county.
According to the Turkana County Annual Development Plan 2015/2016 the county has a low literacy rate 22.2 percent.
Lake Turkana offers water activities such as swimming, boat riding or fishing trips. The strong winds also support sailing cruise with fishing dhows or traditional raft. The county tourism industry is also bolstered by a number of world renowned prehistoric sites, rock art and opportunities for hiking and cross bike riding.
According to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, about 750million barrels have been confirmed to exist within the Lokichar basin in Turkana County.The blocks are owned by Tullow Oil of Britain (50 per cent), while Canadian explorer Africa Oil and business conglomerate Maersk of Denmark hold a 25 per cent stake each.Kenya has 81 exploration and appraisal wells in Turkana and is already at an advanced stage of working on an Early Oil Pilot Scheme (EOPS) to specifically exploit five wells to produce oil, with phase one targeting production of 2,000 barrels per day ahead of Full Field Development (FFD).