Drying Kobebe Dam Forces Pastoralists Out Of Moroto

5079 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
The drying Kobebe dam has sparked off internal migration amongst the Karimojong and Turkana cattle keepers, in search of fresh water sources.

Pastoralists in Moroto are starting to leave the district as Kobebe dam is on the verge of drying up. Kobebe, one of the biggest man-made dams in Moroto district has its levels reducing significantly following a current severe drought in Karamoja. 

The development has now sparked off internal migrations amongst the Karimojong and Turkana cattle keepers, as water scarcity worsens in Karamoja.

So far, groups of mostly Kenyan pastoralists herding millions of animals like goats, sheep, cattle and camels have begun driving their animals inside Napak district in search of water, some 96 kilometres inside Uganda.

A Turkana pastoralist only identified as Lokerekeju says the situation is alarming. He explains that since his arrival in Uganda in 2010, water has not been an issue but it seems the situation is running out of hand.

This is the second time in less than two years. In April last year, Kobebe dam dried up after it developed cracks allowing loss of water before the Water Ministry worked on it.

One Lowari, also a pastoralist asks government to build more dams in the region to cater for water.

Andrew Napaja, an opinion leader in the sub-region says without rains, water shortages are common. He says for the last one year, Karamoja has seen failed rains.
Kobebe dam, which was built by the Water Ministry at a cost of 6.7 billion shillings in 2010, has a total storage of 2.3 billion liters. Other dams in Karamoja include Arecek in Napak and Longoromit in Kaabong district.


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.