· Water cabinet secretary James Macharia said the facility was 99 percent complete and is set to be fully complete by the end of April .
Thiba Dam is due for commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May.
The authorities say the project was 99 per cent done and is set to be completed by the end of April.
Speaking on Thursday when he toured the dam, Water Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the one per cent incomplete task is set to be fast tracked in a bid to ensure that the dam is utilised soonest .
He said it will be an advantage to have the dam completed before the end of the long rainy season so that the process of impounding the dam could run seamlessly.
He said the dam is one of the mega water projects that are eagerly awaited due to their impact on food security and its economic value .
The dam, Macharia said, will be a game changer in rice irrigation in Kirinyaga, a crop he noted heavily supports food production in the country .
The dam will support an additional 10,000 acres that are to be put under rice irrigation up from the current 25,000 acres whose annual current rice production stands at 114,000 metric tons .
With the addition of rice acreage, the annual production will shoot to 200,000 metric tons thus heavily contributing in the country’s food security
The dam will also achieve a double cropping season from the current one season hence putting 70,000 acres under rice production annually.
“The dam will come as a big relief to the rice farmers downstream who for long have been grappling with water shortage," Macharia said.
"Upon the completion of the dam, rice farming will be secure irrespective of any unfavourable weather season as there will be adequate water for irrigation.”
Macharia said immediately after the President commissions the dam,the farmers will have access to the water to undertake their farming.
Besides food security, the CS said the facility would have economic impact by creating an additional 10,000 jobs which will lead to a cumulative 350,000 jobs per year.
Moreover, he said, it will help generate Sh16 billion annually up from the current Sh10 billion .
The head of infrastructure department at the National Irrigation Authority Charles Muasya said that within one season, they will be impounding into the dam an estimated 15 million cubic meters of water.
That will come from an estimated 184 million cubic meters of water that flows through river Thiba annually.
Muasya said at the moment it would be impossible to use the water from the river to fill up the dam as it would create a water crisis in the rice farm downstream.
Out of the harvested dam water, he said an estimated 6.8 cubic meters of water will be released into the farm in a bid to complement the 8 cubic meters required for rice farming .
Currently the river feeds the rice farm with an estimated 5 cubic metres of water.
In addition, water provision for consumption purposes has been given a nod.
He said they have brought on board the relevant stakeholders to undertake the necessary implementation procedures.
Mwea irrigation scheme manager Innocent Ariemba said, a while back, that the completion of the dam will be in tandem with the infrastructure installation currently being undertaken in the additional 10,000 acres.
He said Thiba Dam will come in handy especially during the October-November season when water requirement is at its peak thus rendering farmers to suffer from water shortage.
He however noted that his agency has since come up with various coping mechanisms that will ensure a water rice saving culture.
“We have the water wetting –dry rotation system where the farmers irrigate and thereafter wait for 10 to 12 days for the farms to be completely dry and then irrigate again," he said.
"This not only saves the water but also gives us time to rotate and give water to every farm.”
(Edited by Francis Wadegu)