In a bid to enhance the agricultural production and fight insecurity in the Karamoja subregion, government plans to build a 10,000 SQ hectares lake in the region.
The revelation was made by the outgoing Minister for Karamoja Affairs John Byabagambi while handing over office to the incoming minister Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu.
Mr Byabagambi told his successor that the main and quick duties waiting for her is the construction of an artificial lake.
This lake will be situated in Lopei between the districts of Moroto and Kotido.
He also told her that gazetting of Mt Moroto as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage center was the other assignment.
“President Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a lake which will contain 40 million cubic metres of water to reduce insecurity in Karamoja and Pokot pastoralists and generate 6MW of electricity,” Mr Byabagambi said.
Mr Byabagambi further said that the design and feasibility studies of this lake have already been concluded.
It’s expected to cost $100 M (Ugx 354.1B) and will serve the districts of Abim, Moroto, Napak and Kotido.
This lake is expected to help pastoralists who have been travelling long distances to get water in the five valley dams ad 116 tanks that were built in the area.
Mr Byabagambi also pointed out some of the key interventions that government identified to be addressed in the region.
These are peace building, introduction of water for agricultural production with the region producing food that can be bought by the government, rural electrification plus the introduction of dry land integrated development projects.
Dr Kitutu said that she was questioned by parliament during her vetting process what she planned to do to stop water runoff that usually runs from Karamoja and ends up flooding the Teso region.
“I told them, I will stop the water from flooding Teso. As Minister of Water and Environment, there are certain insecurities you can map out and water is one of them. Once there is water, peace will prevail,” she said.
Dr Kitutu added that she was going to pump her energies to ensure availability of water for production and bulk water to drive development in Karamoja.
This is one of the ways to assure development partners of stability who are being scared away by insecurity.
She highlighted one of her key achievements while still serving as energy minister where she launched 1,059km of rural electrification programs for Karamoja region that targeted mineral industrial parks.
The new minister also said that she brought Karamoja on board among the areas to be mapped with geophysical surveys which revealed to government all the minerals in the region and revealed the tourism and industrial potential of the area.