Lake Turkana: East Africa’s “Aral Sea” in the making?
International Rivers has published a study on “The downstream impacts of Ethiopia’s Gibe 3 dam” (2013), now under construction on the Omo River in Southern Ethiopia. It argues that, if the Government of Ethiopia finishes the dam and presses ahead with large-scale irrigation schemes, the hydrological, ecological and socio-economic impacts will generate a region-wide crisis for biodiversity and indigenous livelihoods from agropastoralism and fishery and will seriously destabilise the Ethiopia-Kenyan borderlands around Lake Turkana. The long-term effect could parallel what has happened to Central Asia’s Aral Sea, one of the world’s worst environmental disasters. The report summarises the technical and scientific evidence derived from decades of research on and around Lake Turkana by local and international specialists. It points to the multiple ways in which the irrigation schemes would undermine development, security and environmental and social wellbeing in the wider Turkana region and indicates pathways to enable effective action before irrevocable damage is done.