• Sh5.5bn Phase II project commissioned in 2017 by President Kenyatta. The whole project was to have been completed last year.
• Oguna blamed the delay on disruption caused by Covid-19.
More than 300,000 residents of Baringo and Nakuru counties will receive water from the mega Chemususu Dam in Eldama-Ravine by late March or April.
Government spokesman Col (Rtd) Rtd. Cyrus Oguna said on Tuesday Phase II works - piping and water treatment - are 90 per cent complete. He visited the site.
“Upon completion, the dam will benefit some 300,000 residents of Eldama-Ravine, Mogotio and Nakuru” Oguna said. The dam holds 12 million cubic metres.
“Supply and transportation of materials and workforce were disrupted by Covid-19 since last year March,” he said.
Oguna said the situation is slowly returning to normal and the government is reviving development projects countrywide.
The Sh5.5 billion Phase II was initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017 and was to have been completed by 2020.
It will provide water for domestic use, irrigation and cattle farming.
Oguna was accompanied by five principal secretaries - Harry Kimutai (Livestock), Jerome Ochieng (ICT and innovation), Joseph Irungu (Water and Sanitation), Joe Okudo (Sports), Dr Margaret Mwakima (Regional and Northern Corridor Development), Baringo county Commissioner Henry Wafula and Central Rift Development Water Works CEO Engineer Hosea Wendot.
Oguna said President Kenyatta is expected to launch the mega dam by the end of March or in April
He said it's part of the Big Four agenda.
“We forgive the people selling a narrative that the government has stalled and abandoned major projects across the country,” Oguna said.
Irungu said the dam has been designed simply, using gravity and not using extra electricity for pumping.
He said the Water ministry is doing similar projects across the country and they will soon be completed.
“The ministry has sunk more than 150 boreholes in various parts of the country, but the big problem in distribution is uneven electricity connections in remote areas," he said.
The water PS said the government was committed to completing the Kabarnet's Sh2.1 billion Italian-sponsored Kirandich Dam Phase II and the Sewerage systems in Kabarnet and Eldama-Ravine towns.
“The problem of delay lies with the contractor but it will be sorted soon," Irungu said.
He cited the proposed Perkei Dam in Baringo North and Amaya Dam in Tiaty subcounty.
The PS also said last week, the government through the World Bank, disbursed Sh6.5 billion to offset the pending bills owed to the water supply services across the country.
“During the onset of Covid-19, the government announced free water distribution to every household and that has been fulfilled,” he said.
He said the money goes to the maintenance of equipment, settling electricity bills, purchasing treatment chemicals and paying the staff of the water supply agencies, “because there was zero revenue collected during the Covid season,” Irungu said.
Eng Wendot said the agency is currently testing the equipment at Chemususu Dam.
(Edited by V. Graham)