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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]

A controversial hydro power plant 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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8 news items

The Guardian

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

Kalokol, northern Kenya: children collect water from holes dug in a dry riverbed. The town's only other water source is a defunct borehole. Photograph: Jessica Hatcher for the Guardian Jessica Hatcher ...
The Star
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Residents have in the past blamed the company for the poor state of the bridge due to its heavy trucks transporting machines. Turkana county deputy county commissioner Elijah Kodoh said the collapse of the bridge that links the county and other region ...
The Standard Digital News
Wed, 07 May 2014 13:15:00 -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 ...

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 ...

NatGeo News Watch (blog)

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 ...
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 ...
National Geographic
Sat, 13 Aug 2011 08:25:12 -0700

I recently visited a pilot farming project in a remote area south of the Turkwel River. This is where the Turkana Basin Institute has been established through the efforts of Dr. Richard Leakey and Stony Brook University. Ikal Angelei is an amazing ...
BBC News
Tue, 09 Aug 2011 18:24:50 -0700

"We have a lot of hope for Turkana because areas next to the Turkwel River are very fertile with a lot of water," said Daniel Waweru of the Kenyan government's National Irrigation Board. "If we could open bigger areas to irrigation then we will see we ...

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