by Jenna Petrone, Assistant Office Manager
No Water No Life has been documenting Lake Turkana and the issue of it becoming endangered due to the threat of dam building and sugar plantations since 2003. Peter Bosshard speaks about this issue in a recent Huffington Post article, “Will the World Take Action to Stop the Destruction of a Unique Global Heritage?”
“Lake Turkana – the world’s largest desert lake – also offers water, food and livelihood to 300,000 indigenous people living in a barren environment. Yet this precious source of life is now under threat from rampant dam building and sugar plantations in neighboring Ethiopia. When the World Heritage Committee convenes for its annual meeting next week, it will need to decide whether to speak up for this unique global treasure.
Lake Turkana depends on the Omo River for 90% of its freshwater inflow. In January 2015, the Ethiopian government closed the Gibe III Dam and started filling its reservoirs. The government and private investors are also using the dam to develop huge sugar and cotton plantations along the Omo River. If the full scheme is realized, the dam and plantations will withhold and withdraw huge amounts of water from the river.”
“As a consequence, the water level of Lake Turkana could drop by as much as 20 meters. A prominent Kenyan hydrologist has warned that “the result could be another Aral Sea disaster in the making.” “Once the dam is operating, everything people feed on will disappear. Starvation will take over,” said Turkana pastorialist Rebecca Arot.
We can’t stand by idly as another human-made social, environmental and cultural disaster unfolds. An online petition by International Rivers calls on the World Heritage Committee to stand up for Lake Turkana and declare it a World Heritage in Danger.”
The following video perfectly describes what Lake Turkana means to individuals of the tribe living on its shores.
Sign the petition to ask the World Heritage Committee to protect Lake Turkana here.