By Steven Ariong
MOROTO: The Karimojong and Kenyan Turkana pastoralists in Moroto district are currently gripped with panic of massive death of their livestock following the reduction of water volume in the multibillion Kobebe water dam.
Kobebe water dam located 50km away from Moroto town in Moroto district was constructed by the minister of water and environment in 2010 at the cost of shs 6.7billion.
The dam was constructed under initiative of the first lady also the minister who was then Karamoja affairs Minister with the move to address shortage of water from the pastoralist community and also to improve on food production through irrigation scheme.
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However, due to the influx of hundreds of pastoralists with their thousands of livestock, the dam is drying up. According to the plan, the dam was expected to store 2.3billion liters of water and serving over 3,000 animals on a daily basis but it currently serves over 8,000 daily.
This website has learnt that the dam had been serving over 300,000 heads of cattle, goats, sheep, camels and donkeys of both the Karimojong and the Turkana who also crossed to graze their animals in the area after persistent drought in Kenya.
John Robert Adupa Akiki the sub county chairperson of Lotisan sub county said the water level had reduced from the dam adding that even the control valves are all leaking and others are damaged..
“We need the ministry of water and environment to come for our rescue so that our pastoralists don’t suffer,” Adupa Requested
Mathew Lokut one of the pastoralists grazing his animals in Kobebe says their animals that had got used of taking enough water and pasture will grow thin should the dam completely drie up.
“The health of our animals had greatly improved and am worried if the rains delays and this dam completely dry up, then we shall lose animals,” Lokut appealed
John Lokuruka a Turkana pastoralist also grazing in Kobebe has sent his plea and prayed that God should help and release rains to fill the dam as soon as possible.
“Its only Uganda and Karamoja particularly that had been our rescuing center where we run to whenever we face drought in Kenya now where shall we run again if this dam dries up,” Lokuruka cried.
On his side, James Olinga the Engineer in the ministry of water and environment in charge of Karamoja blames the current situation on the influx of livestock. He says every year they have been spending a lot of money repairing the gate valves in the dam yet the district should be responsible.
Olinga further says they will send their team to cross check the level of damage in the dam and see how to work on.
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