Extreme rainfall and the Turkwel Gorge Dam in Kenya: Understanding risks and management priorities

Authors: Dr Callum Munday, Dr Ellen Dyer, Prof Rob Hope, Prof Daniel Olago, Dr Feyera Hirpa

Lakes along the Great African Rift System from Ethiopia to Tanzania are at their highest levels in decades. The rising water poses multiple hazards including contamination, landslides, and flooding affecting millions of lives. In November 2020, authorities shared concerns of a potential overflowing of the Turkwel Gorge Dam due to excessive rains. The potential flooding could affect over 300,000 people in an area accustomed to droughts. This brief discusses how understanding rainfall variability can provide lessons for managing dams in drylands to improve water security for energy, agriculture, environmental and human needs.

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Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

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