Ethiopia: Dams threaten Indigenous communities, Omo Valley, Lake Turkana

A Cascade of Development on the Omo River by International Rivers, with photos by Alison M. Jones, 2014 (11:19).

This film outlines how Ethiopia’s new Gibe Dams will cause a 70% water-level reduction over the next 3 years – and thus drastically impact Ethiopia’s Omo River, its Lake Turkana terminus in Kenya, and ½ million residents in this Rift Valley’s Cradle of Humankind. These hydro-dams – and the new commercial agricultural plantations they will irrigate – threaten the livelihoods of local indigenous tribes and their ecosystems. The Gibe Dams will also imperil the Omo-Turkana Basin’s migrating birds, fish and crocodile populations, and the scant amount of wildlife left.

The film pleads that water flows be managed so as to maintain the sustainability of the Omo River, Lake Turkana, and today’s indigenous communities who represent 6000 years of self-sustaining flood-recession farmers and fishermen. For more information on the Omo River :
 Download the factsheet on Gibe III Dam by International Rivers.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM NWNL:  For many millennia, the Omo’s annual 60 foot floods from the highlands’ monsoonal rains have supplied nutrient-rich silt and irrigation for the crops of the Mursi, Suri, Karo, Hamar, Nyangatom, Dassanech and other
unique indigenous cultures. In a 2008 NWNL interview…. Read the full story here.

3 thoughts on “Ethiopia: Dams threaten Indigenous communities, Omo Valley, Lake Turkana

  1. Dear Alison,

    The film was terrific and your photos in the film were fabulous. I hope that Kenya and the UN put pressure on Ethiopia to prevent great ecological damage to Lake Turkana and the Omo River and all the people who depend on the waters.

    I recommend that you put the link to the film in the first paragraph of the post so that visitors to your site do not have to click “read more” to access and watch the film.



    Sent from my iPad


    1. Larry, Thank you so much for your kind words and input! This is a critically important issue which needs more attention. The world’s future security lies in whether or not we can establish well-considered and balanced approaches to the universal issue of riparian rights.
      In regards to your suggestion of linking the video – you are absolutely right! We have it linked on the NWNL blog post (clickable on the video thumbnail or on the title of the film). However, the way in which a subscriber receives updates, determines how the post will appear. For example, most feeds only provide a short summary of the post, stripping it of images, video and/or links. Yes, sadly, some things are just out of our control! So, we hope you don’t mind visiting our blog and clicking around (and commenting) every now and then! We are glad to have you.

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