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Transboundary Water Management needed for sustainable development in Lake Turkana basin

KNA    A new Survey conducted in Ethiopia and Kenya by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), indicates that simulations for the next 20 years, predict that climate change may result in a marked increase in inflow to Lake Turkana, primarily from the Omo River, but also increased inflow from Kerio and Turkwel rivers.

It notes that the flooding, which occurred in 2020, which was considered a rare event, is likely to become more regular in the future without any adaptation measures.

“The new evidence of continuing rising lake water levels, is partially based on climate change scenarios and a predicted change in rainfall patterns, due to climate change. These climate change projections, however, are associated with a degree of uncertainty,” states the Report.

The study on support to Sustainable Development in Lake Turkana and its River Basins,’ which is being carried out by the UNEP Centre on Water and Environment, aims to ensure the effective cooperation and coordination of cross border initiatives.

Specific objectives of the project include, establishing a common scientific understanding of the Lake and its River Basins and setting up a monitoring system for Lake Turkana and its River Basins.


It also aims at capacity building in Transboundary Water Management (TWM) and transboundary dialogue activities to build trust, confidence, cooperation and a shared vision.

Further, it will aid in implementing pilot demonstrations for ecosystems rehabilitation

The Project is co-funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, through its project on ‘Support for Effective Cooperation and Coordination of Cross-border Initiatives’ in Southwest Ethiopia-Northwest Kenya, Marsabit-Borana & Dawa, and Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia (SECCCI)”.

The Report concludes that mutual gains for both basin countries can be achieved if the basin countries develop an arrangement for water cooperation.  

Possible transboundary mutual gains between Climate Change (CC), Water Resources Developments (WRD) and Rehabilitation and Adaption Measures (RAM), have been identified.

“Increased irrigation and other abstractions within the basin may help to counterbalance increasing water levels in Lake Turkana due to climate change,” the Reports notes.

It also indicate that irrigation will need to be properly managed to avoid negative effects on water quality, such as agricultural nonpoint source pollution.


Likewise the Report says, reforestation and soil and water conservation measures may also help to counterbalance the impact of climate change.


However, the effect of increasing water use will be relatively stronger, due to increased evaporation and less run-off from steep headwater catchments.


“It will be possible to partly reproduce the seasonality in inflow to Lake Turkana to maintain fish production and at the same time maintain the same Total Hydropower Production in the Ethiopian part of the basin. A cooperation framework should be established to guide planning and development efforts at the basin scale. The project deliverable “Draft Framework on Transboundary Water Management,” addresses this.” It concludes.



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