Lake Turkana and the entire Omo River Basin are still under threat. Apart from the Gibe 3 Dam that the Ethiopian government is building, they are also planning Gibe 4 and 5 and planning massive sugarcane and cotton plantations that will eat a colossal 150,000 hectares of vital land. If all three dams are built, they will disrupt Lake Turkana’s main source of water – River Omo – which provides the lake with 90 percent of its water.
Ignorant support by certain Kenyan government ministries for the Gibe dams has continued to provide the justification for their construction. The Ethiopian government is encouraged by the fact that the Kenyan government supports these projects. This support by Kenyan government officials rides on ignorance of the adverse environmental impacts of the dams, its potential for total annihilation of the ecosystem, impacts of a receding lake, and the disruption of a major river system that will place hundreds of thousands of people who depend on the Omo-Turkana Basin for food, water and pasture. The destruction of this sustenance system will definitely trigger widespread insecurity in the region.
The sugar and cotton plantations – as studies by various experts from around the world have shown – will suck large quantities of water from the Omo River thus further reducing the small amount of water flowing from the hydroelectric dams into Lake Turkana. This will dramatically alter the ecology of the lake. Plantations require fertilizers – phosphates – which will eventually be washed into the river and end up being deposited in the lake. No points for guessing how badly this will destroy the lake’s ecosystem. The chemical imbalance that these phosphates will trigger will have severe negative impacts on the animal and plant life on the lake and forever deny the human population this vital source of already salty but potable water.
The Save Lake Turkana Campaign has filed a case in the Kenyan court that is scheduled for hearing in the first quarter of 2012. Another case has been filed in the African Court and it will also be heard at an undetermined date this year.
Friends of Lake Turkana is not about to give up the fight to Save Lake Turkana. We continue to fight not only for this generation, but also for the next one and all future generations.
A Luta Continua!