Natoo Dam - Kenya

In the first quarter of 2005, the CPS congregation contributed to the construction of a rock dam at Natoo River in the southern half of Lowarengak Parish, Diocese of Lodwar in Kenya. There are other existing dams along this river. This region of Kenya is a semi-desert and the Turkana tribe that inhabit the parched land are nomadic shepherds who depend totally on their livestock of goats, sheep, camels and donkeys. In their migratory routes in search of pasture and water, these Turkana shepherds encounter much difficulty in finding good sources of water for their livestock and their own consumption. Hence, the Parish Church of St. Joseph, under Frs. Francis Teo and Steven Ochieng, priests of the Missionary Community of St. Paul the Apostle, undertook to develop water resources for the people in the north-eastern corner of the diocese and district where the parish is located. Part of this effort is the construction of rock dams at strategically located sites in the Lapur Mountain range that flank the parish territory.

The rock dam at Natoo that has been constructed is large – 9m high and 60m long, with a base of 4.5m wide. It has taken a team of 50 masons and local workers to construct this dam over a period of 6 months. Cement had to be brought in from more than 500km, stone had to be cut by hand and sand had to be brought in via a road opened across the hills. In May, the rains came. Work had to be halted for a month until the river dried up completely again and the workers could come back to the site again before construction could proceed smoothly.

The result is impressive – there is a body of water with a volume of 140,000m3. For a semi-desert this is near to a miracle. More and more families are setting up their huts or “manyattas” near the dam so that the women who go to fetch water and their livestock can have easy access to good, clean water. This rock dam and its reservoir of water - like the 45 others that the MCSPA has built throughout a combined territory of 20,000 sq. km. in Turkana – has changed the face of the land. More than 2,000 persons now benefit from this dam directly and indirectly.

To all who made this a reality, we give our thanks.

By Fr. Francis Teo MCSPA
Parish Priest
St. Joseph’s Parish, Lowarengak