Moroto's Multipurpose Dam Finally Dries Up

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In short
The dam, with a storage capacity of 2.3 billion liters, has been the only source of water for millions of cattle for communities in Karamoja and Turkana. But its levels have reduced significantly over the last 36 months as a result of a severe drought that hit Karamoja sub region.

Kobebe dam, one of the biggest man-made dams in Moroto district has finally dried up, creating uncertainty among thousands of cattle farmers who depended on it for the survival of their animals.

The dam, with a storage capacity of 2.3 billion liters, has been the only source of water for millions of cattle for communities in Karamoja and Turkana. But its levels have reduced significantly over the last 36 months as a result of a severe drought that hit Karamoja sub region.

The latest visit to its site in Rupa Sub County discovered a trace of thick sludge mixed with algae bloom now flowing into drain pipes, a scenario that could cause permanent blockage of the system.

Mariko Eripete, a Turkana pastoralist says the drying up of Kobebe dam is set back to thousands of cattle keepers who have been benefiting from the facility since 2010, when it was built by the Ministry of Water and Environment.

District statistics indicate that at least three million animals-cattle, goats, sheep and camels have been drinking water from the dam everyday for the past five years. Most of these animals have now been driven into Napak district in search of water, a development that could open an era of fresh conflicts arising out scarcity of resources.

Another Pastoralist only identified as Lopeke from Kotido says migrations this year around have to begin early in order to save their herds from death.

He explains that the water consumption by millions of animals around the dam have outweighed the storage forcing it to dry up. He notes that pasture shortage has also become another concern as wild fires and intense hit dry up the basic food for animals.

Mark Musooka, the District Chairperson Moroto adds that the rain shortages have made it difficult for the reservoir to store water in the last three years.

Simon Lolim, the Resident District Commissioner Kaabong says the dry spell situation is worsening daily.
 
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Other multi-purpose dams hit by the severe dry spell characterized by high temperatures fueling water losses include Arecek and Longoromit in Napak and Kaabong districts respectively.

 

About the author

Olandason Wanyama
Olandason Wanyama is the Karamoja region bureau chief. Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Abim, Kotido and Kaabong districts fall under his docket. Wanyama has been a URN staff member since 2012.

The former teacher boasts of 20 years journalism experience. Wanyama started out as a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor newspaper in 1991 in Entebbe. Wanyama also wrote for the army publication Tarehe Sita, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) magazine and The New Vision. While not on the beat, Wanyama taught child soldiers at Uganda Airforce School-Katabi.

Wanyama is very interested in conflict reporting, climate change, education, health and business reporting. He is also an avid photographic chronicler of vanishing tribal life in the East African region.