UNESCO has added Kenya’s Lake Turkana to the World Heritage danger list

Lake Turkana is the most saline lake in East Africa and the largest desert lake in the world.

The panel expressed concern about the disruptive effect of Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam “on the flow and ecosystem” of Lake Turkana downstream.

"The dam threatens to disrupt seasonal flooding that is essential to the reproductive cycle of the lake fish, with an estimated 300,000 people depending on fishing Turkana for their livelihoods," the committee said.

The irrigation project is also expected to significantly reduce the total amount of water entering the lake.

UNESCO opposed the Gibe III dam, Africa’s highest at 243 meters (800 feet), which was inaugurated at the end of 2016 and also serves to water vast new sugar cane plantations.

Water levels

The committee said that water levels at the lake have significantly dropped by approximately 1.5m since January 2015 when construction of the dam commenced.

Located in northwestern Kenya , Lake Turkana is the most saline lake in East Africa and the largest desert lake in the world.

The lake's protected area, known as Lake Turkana National Parks, comprises three adjacent reserves — Central Island, South Island and Sibiloi parks — covering a total area of 161,485 hectares (400,000 acres).

They serve as a stopover for migrant aquatic birds and provide major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes.

The area is also believed to be the birthplace of mankind hosting fossil deposits at Koobi Fora.

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