•China Jiangxi International Kenya Limited and China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company Limited to build dam.
•Dam expected to end perennial floods affecting Nyando and Nyakach.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has delivered the six-decade dream of the Koru-Soin dam.
This follows the signing of a contract between the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority and two Chinese companies.
Work on the Sh20 billion project is expected to start immediately, breathing a new economic life to the people of Nyanza and Western Kenya.
MWHSA acting CEO Sharon Obonyo said the authority signed the contract with China Jiangxi International Kenya Limited and China Jiangxi International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company Limited on May 11.
She said the contract paves way for the start of construction of the multipurpose dam project, which will be a game changer in Kisumu and Kericho counties.
“With a storage capacity of 93.7 million cubic metres, the dam will supply 72,000m3/day of water for domestic use and irrigation of 2,570 hectares (6,350 acres) of land,” she said.
The signing of the contract marks one of the President’s goodbye goodies to the people of Rift Valley and Nyanza as he exits office after the August elections.
It is believed the socioeconomic platforms of the two regions will undergo a complete metamorphosis after completion of the dam.
The dam, a Vision 2030 flagship project, will occupy approximately 2,500 acres and is expected to irrigate between 1,800 hectares (4,447 acres) and 5,370 hectares (13,269) farmland in Ahero and West Kano.
It will also generate 2.5MW, an addition to the national grid. The dam is expected to supply 71.3 cubic metres of water per day to more than 1.7 million people.
Residents of Nyando and Nyakach have suffered the effects of floods and destruction of livelihoods, crops and loss of lives and livestock due to flooding.
Every time it pours on the hills of Nandi, residents of the Nyando basin know it is time to pack and leave their homes, albeit temporarily.
The situation could have been solved 60 years ago had the government executed plans to construct the Koru-Soin dam.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga told residents during a tour of the region that a contractor had been identified and would soon come to the site.
First Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (deceased) was the brain behind the project. He brought in the Russian government to undertake a feasibility study.
“Jaramogi mooted the project idea in the 1960s and brought Russians who did a study on the project and designed how the dam would be constructed at Koru-Soin, and the River Nyando water regulated to Magwagwa in Sondu," Raila said.
"He got funding for the project from Russia but it was frustrated by some leaders and it never kicked off."
The Soin-Koru Dam was started in 1982 by the Italian government. The National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation took over in 2009.
Previously, there was a misunderstanding between residents and the government over compensation and the cost-benefit of the project.
The dam will have a reservoir covering more than 2,471.05 acres, affecting 360 parcels of land. Of the number, 230 parcels are in Kisumu and 130 in Kericho.
For the past 20 years, the government had not reached an agreement with the residents of Muhoroni and Nandi over the implementation of the project.
In August last year, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said Sh2 billion will be spent on compensation for those affected by the project.
He said affected households on the 2,500 acres in Kisumu and Kericho counties have been engaged to pave the way for the construction of the dam.
“The national government is now working out modalities for compensation of the affected people on the 360 parcels of land ahead of the construction of the multipurpose dam,” he said at the time.
Edited by A.N