Save Lake Turkana, the World's Largest Desert Lake, From Drying Up

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Lake Turkana is at risk from water developments on Ethiopia’s Omo River. The river provides the lake with 90% of its incoming water. Despite this, the Kenyan government has not done enough to safeguard the lake and the interests of hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the lake.

The Gibe III dam was constructed by the Ethiopian Government on River Omo and it began filling with water in February 2015. This has already resulted in lowering of the lake's water levels. Large scale irrigation farming and the construction of at least two more dams is also envisaged, using water from the Omo River. Should these come to fruition, scientists predict that in 30 years the lake will recede by 80kms, drop by over 40 meters and shrink to two small pools. Such an environmental catastrophe has precedents in the Lake Chad and the Aral Sea.

The intended holding and diversion of water from River Omo will be catastrophic for people, wild and marine life dependent on the lower course of the river and on Lake Turkana.

With this petition, we ask the Kenyan and Ethiopian National Governments to:

1.  Stop the expansion of irrigated farms receiving water from River Omo until a transparent and consultative water management plan has been developed - encouraging development that conserves natural capital rather than destroying it.

2.  Restore the seasonal environmental floods that are required to sustain the Lake Turkana ecology.

3.  Compensate the communities being displaced or whose livelihoods are being, or will be, negatively impacted in the lower Omo Valley and the Lake Turkana basin, as a result of the lower lake levels and the stemming of nutrients inflow.

4.  Immediately release publicly all documents connected with the high voltage power line link from Naivasha, Kenya to Sodo in Ethiopia, including the 2009 agreement with Ethiopia and the KETRACO study on Gibe 3 impacts, as has been ordered by the courts. (request to the Kenyan Government)

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