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Dry riverbed of the Turkwel river. Photo taken just outside Lodwar Town. Lodwar is in Turkana County, Kenya

The Turkwel River[1] (sometimes spelled Turkwell River[2]) is a river flowing from Mount Elgon in the border of Kenya and Uganda to Lake Turkana. The river is called the Suam River from its source to the border with the West Pokot County of Kenya. The name Turkwel is derived from the Turkana name for the river, Tir-kol, which means translates to a river that "withstands the wilderness". The Turkwel begins from the lush green slopes of Mount Elgon and the Cherangani Hills, traverses the Southern Turkana Plains, crosses Loturerei Desert near Lodwar and empties to the world's largest desert lake, Lake Turkana.[3] The river's flow is seasonally varied, and it is subject to flash floods in the rainy season.[3]

The controversial Turkwel Dam was built by the Kenyan government from 1986 to 1991 with the help of France. The plan was to harness the waters of the Turkwel. The project was initially supposed to cost 4 billion Kenyan shillings, but ended up costing more than 20 billion. The dam partially filled the Turkwel Gorge[4] and created the Turkwel Gorge Reservoir.[5]


  1. ^ Turkwel (Approved) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  2. ^ Turkwell (Variant) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  3. ^ a b Adams, W. M. (1989). "Dam construction and the degradation of floodplain forest on the Turkwel River, Kenya". Land Degradation & Development (Wiley) 1 (3): 189–198. doi:10.1002/ldr.3400010303. 
  4. ^ Turkwel Gorge (Approved) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  5. ^ Kotut, Kiplagat; Njuguna, Stephen G,; Muthuri, Francis M. and Krienitz, Lothar (1999). "The physico-chemical conditions of Turkwel Gorge Reservoir, a new man made lake in Northern Kenya". Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters 29 (4): 377–392. doi:10.1016/S0075-9511(99)80046-2. 

Coordinates: 3°06′17″N 36°05′51″E / 3.10472°N 36.09750°E / 3.10472; 36.09750

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkwel_River — Please support Wikipedia.
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28 news items

Food Tank (blog)

Food Tank (blog)
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:56:15 -0700

In 2012, FAO helped the Government with the construction of 124 km of irrigation canals along the Turkwel River in the semi-arid region of Turkana. The development of small-scale irrigation schemes has doubled the area of cultivated land under ...

The Straits Times

The Straits Times
Sat, 09 Jan 2016 13:05:11 -0800

She shows us how TBI workers clean and piece together tiny fragments of priceless fossils. Towards evening, she leads us down to the Turkwel river which, being the rainy season, has water in it. We cool off with sundowners on a sandbank in the middle ...

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Sat, 10 Oct 2015 06:18:45 -0700

To some, the mere mention of Turkana conjures up images of a region synonymous with drought and insecurity caused by persistent cattle rustling and competition for scarce resources by neighbouring nomadic communities.

The Guardian

The Guardian
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:59:09 -0700

I believe most of the arable farming in the area is along the Turkwel river. That strip of land needs to be bolstered further against the arid land on either side of it. Allowing patches of land along the margins of the farmable strip would enable a ...

Water World

Water World
Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:46:23 -0800

Situated a short distance from Turkana's oil reserves, the second reserve is fed by the perennial Turkwel River and has an estimated reserve of 10 billion cubic meters. Judi Wakhungu, cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural ...


Wed, 10 Jul 2013 07:32:40 -0700

NAIROBI, 10 July 2013 (IRIN) - The Kenyan government is planning to introduce large-scale irrigation in the country's dry lands to improve food security and unlock agricultural potential – but critics have blasted the US$170 million scheme as unviable ...
The Standard Digital News
Wed, 07 May 2014 13:26:15 -0700

Turkana, Kenya: The Government has been urged to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of Kainuk Bridge in Turkana South District. The bridge over Turkwel River, which links the area to other regions, is reportedly falling apart. Turkana County ...
NatGeo News Watch (blog)
Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:11:10 -0700

Riverine vegetation along a tributory of the Turkwel River in South Turkana National Reserve, north-western Kenya. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong and Tom Butynski. In December 2012, we surveyed Nasalot National Reserve in West Pokot District and ...

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