President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni are in September expected to launch the Sh250 million Kases Peace Dam on the common border, as part of the 2019 Moroto Peace Accord that ended recurring cross-border conflicts.
The water source will come as a relief to residents of West Pokot County who move with their livestock to Uganda in search of water, leading to conflicts with their Karamajong neighbours.
The dam was funded by the Kenyan government and the African Development Bank, and will improve water supply to residents of Kases, Kacheliba Sub-County, in West Pokot and surrounding areas.
The dam project was agreed on by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Museveni after the Affirmative Action On Development of Asal Counties plan under the cross-border programme and a memorandum of understanding signed and launched on September 12, 2019 in Moroto, Uganda.
The dam is also expected to minimise water shortages in the semi-arid area.
“The Kases dam is ready. This is one of the peace dams in conjunction with others in Turkana and Marsabit bordering Ethiopia that are key to eradicating conflicts that arise due to the scramble for the commodity in the arid regions,” Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said when he visited the dam.
The dam is expected to fill up in July and is projected to benefit at least 1,000 households in the pastoralist area, he said.
Arid and semi-arid areas Principal Secretary Micah Powon said the dam was modelled on a similar project in Uganda.
“This is one of the four cross-border dams being constructed for pastoralist communities to cement peace initiatives along border lines. The model is similar to Kobebe Dam in Moroto, Uganda, which has become a haven for peace in the Karamoja region,” Mr Powon said.
He said the dam, the biggest in the region after Turkwel in neighbouring Turkana, will be handed over to the community in September.
“Groundbreaking will be done in a few weeks to come. We shall plant pasture in the place for pastoralists to use for their livestock as they will have water and shun migrating from one place to another,” he said.
The PS said water will be pumped to institutions, schools and the neighbouring areas of Kamla, Melee, Kalodeker, Kimbur, Locholia Monyang and Kaurio to help in small-scale irrigation for planting crops.
Resident Pauline Chepkieny, who treks more than 20km for water, said the problem of water scarcity has been addressed.
“Many pregnant women have experienced miscarriages on these journeys. Now we will not see that. And our children, who used to accompany us, will now go to school,” she said.