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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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71 videos foundNext > 

Turkana Residents Forced Into Dangerous Crossings of River Turkwel

Residents of six villages in Turkana south have been forced to risk their lives daily as they try to cross the crocodile infested Turkwel river due to the lack of a ...

River Of Death

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Irrigation efforts yield results as Turkana food basket prospers

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East Africa 1961 Reel 13 of 46

Cat. Reel 193 1961: Reel 13: East Africa. Jan. 18-20. Amudat. Lodwar, Turkwel river, Kenya. Lake Rudolf. Suk couple in traditional costume. Person with plug in ...

Tipet residents in West Pokot raise alarm over crocodile attacks

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Tipet residents living in fear of crocodiles attacks

http://www.nation.co.ke Residents of Tipet area in West Pokot county are living in fear following frequent attacks by crocodiles from the dam on river Turkwel ...

Driver escapes death as lorry plunges into river in Lodwar

For more news visit http://www.ntv.co.ke Follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ntvkenya Like our FaceBook page http://www.facebook.com/NtvKenya A man ...

IEBC hearings continue

http://www.ntv.co.ke Pastrolists in West Pokot are dissatisfied with the border between Pokot and neighboring Turkana region. Leaders from the community told ...

50,000 acres of land in Kerio Valley to be put under irrigation by KVDA

At least 50000 acres of land in Kerio Valley were to be put under irrigation, in order to shield the communities in the area from frequent food shortages. The Kerio ...

Feature: Feeding Turkana

71 videos foundNext > 

11 news items

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 08:07:30 -0800

... due to the expected enhanced rainfall. The Kenya Met Service notes the hydro electricity power generating plants including the Turkwel, River Tana's Seven Folks Dam and River Sondu Miriu are expected to receive sufficient rainfall that will fill up ...

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

The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Sat, 10 Oct 2015 06:41:07 -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

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
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:55:30 -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 ...


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 ...

Water World

Water World
Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:37:30 -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 ...

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