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River Omo hydro-electric power project opposed

By | February 22nd 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Lucas Ng’asike

Kenyan and Ethiopian governments have been accused of entering a power deal that may undermine livelihoods of communities along River Omo.

Friends of Lake Turkana (Folt) said the construction of a hydro electric dam on River Omo in Ethiopia would threaten the livelihoods of communities relying on River Omo.

Folt director Ikal Angelei criticised the Kenyan government for sourcing power from Ethiopia.

"We are strongly opposed to the construction of a hydro electric dam on River Omo. Why should Kenya source energy from Ethiopia and yet it has the potential to produce sufficient power locally?" Angelei posed.

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Water decline

The Folt director urged Ethiopia to stop the project because it may interfere with the natural ecosystems along the river. More than 200,000 people in Kenya and Ethiopia depend on the river for irrigation farming and fishing.

Angelei said they have been having discussions at high levels of Government to press Ethiopia to discontinue the project but the negotiations have not yielded any fruit.

The Folt directoer said the damming of River Omo in Ethiopia, which drains about 90 per cent of its water into Lake Turkana, has caused a serious water decline in the Lake.

"We are shocked the lake has started receding due to the damming in River Omo. We are afraid that this may result in alteration of water chemicals that may affect the ecosystems," Angelei said.

She said the organisation will take legal action against the Kenyan government over signing of the power deal.

Angelei said the River Omo damming has been politicised and that Kenya was not ready to withdraw the power deal with Ethiopia.

A Folt volunteer Iris Marrio accused local legislators of not taking the matter seriously yet it affects livelihoods.

River omo electricity
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