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FIVE PER CENT BACK

Covid-19 slows down works at Thwake Dam

CS says they had to reduce the number of workers by half to avert spread of virus

In Summary

• CS said that the state will ensure all the necessary strategies are put in place to make sure the project succeeds.

• The project is poised to change the lives of close to 1.3 million rural inhabitants of Makueni, Kitui and parts of Machakos county.

Water, Sanitation and Irrigation CS Sicily Kariuki plants a tree at the site of multimillion project in Makueni county.
Water, Sanitation and Irrigation CS Sicily Kariuki plants a tree at the site of multimillion project in Makueni county.
Image: AGATHA NGOTHO

The construction of the Sh82 billion Thwake Multipurpose Dam in Makueni county has delayed by about five per cent because of Covid-19.

Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said on Wednesday that there has been a delay owing to cutting down of the number of workers.

She spoke during a tour of the project which is jointly funded by the government of Kenya and the African Development Bank.

The CS said the state will ensure all the necessary strategies are put in place to make sure the project succeeds.

“This project is already at 37 per cent completion. However, the number of workers has been cut by half as a measure to control Covid-19. I have already agreed with the contractor that going forward, the 400 workers who were stopped must be brought back so we catch up with time lost,” she said.

Kariuki said the project is poised to change the lives of close to 1.3 million rural inhabitants of Makueni, Kitui and parts of Machakos county.

She added that the government is acquiring additional land to be occupied by the dam while most compensation issues have been sorted by the National Land Commission.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana said there is a need for neighbouring counties Kitui and Machakos to strategise on best ways to utilise the water from the multipurpose dam in order to avoid conflict.  

Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo said the envisioned Konza Techno City in Machakos will also get its supply from Thwake dam. 

“This project is critical for our counties. It has come at the right time. Once complete, it will control the perennial floods downstream. The Gulalu-Galana irrigation scheme will also benefit a lot ensuring food security for the country,” the legislator said.  

 

The CS noted that once complete, the dam will create thousands of jobs, spur emergence of small scale industries, boost healthcare and sanitation and ensure food security and irrigation in Makueni and Kitui. 

Already, the ongoing civil works in phase one and related activities have created direct and indirect employment of more than 1,200 residents.

The project will also improve sanitation and hygiene hence minimise threat of diseases amongst rural inhabitants. 

Kariuki said the ministry is collaborating with agencies and neighboring county governments to ensure no effluent is disposed of in River Athi.

"We will ensure water that will supply Thwake Dam is clean and usable. We have made it our business to clean the Athi and Nairobi rivers so that by the time water gets to Thwake, it is not polluted,” she assured.

The upper part of Athi River basin will be used as the key catchment area for Thwake Dam. The upstream of the river has been facing pollution challenges.

The project will be done in four phases.

The first phase currently on course involves construction of an 80.5m high multi-purpose dam (688 million cubic metre storage capacity) and associated preliminary works needed to enable implementation of the three other phases.  

Phase two will involve construction of hydropower and substation development expected to generate at least 20MW of installed capacity.

The third phase will involve development of a water supply system to treat and distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of treated water per day.  

The last stage of the project will see development of irrigation works for up to 100,000 acres in Kitui and Makueni.

"By supplying water and power to the envisioned Konza City, this project will hugely contribute to the smart city’s rise where innovative groups will develop and apply modern technology powered by a thriving and reliable water and power infrastructure," Kariuki said.

Edited by R.Wamochie

Water, Sanitation and Irrigation CS Sicily Kariuki touring the Sh82 billion Thwake Multipurpose Dam in Makueni County
Water, Sanitation and Irrigation CS Sicily Kariuki touring the Sh82 billion Thwake Multipurpose Dam in Makueni County
Image: /AGATHA NGOTHO