Construction of Thwake Dam in Ukambani set to begin, says Wamalwa

It has been dubbed the largest water project in the largely semi-arid area.

Saturday February 20 2016

Water Cabinet Secretary (fourth right) accompanied by Makueni and Kitui County leaders tours the proposed site of the Thwake Dam on February 19, 2016. Mr Wamalwa said the government is set to begin construction of the dam which has been dubbed the largest water project in the semi-arid area. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Water Cabinet Secretary (fourth right) accompanied by Makueni and Kitui County leaders tours the proposed site of the Thwake Dam on February 19, 2016. Mr Wamalwa said the government is set to begin construction of the dam which has been dubbed the largest water project in the semi-arid area. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PIUS MAUNDU
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The government is now ready to build Thwake Dam at the confluence of Thwake and Athi Rivers, Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has said.

The construction of the dam, a Vision 2030 flagship project, is jointly funded by the national government and the African Development Bank.

Dubbed the largest water project in the semi-arid area, upon completion, it is expected to supply water to over one million residents of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui counties as well as generate 20 megawatts of electricity to power Konza Tech City in Makueni County.

SH2.8 FOR LAND COMPENSATION

Speaking at the site of the proposed dam, Mr Wamalwa said the government had set aside Sh2.8 billion to compensate residents whose land would be acquired for the project — which was first proposed in the pre-Independence era.

“It is the largest water project in the country currently that will also provide water to irrigate 40,000 hectares of land in this region,” Mr Wamalwa said.

According to the CS, residents would be paid as soon as the Tanathi Water Services Board completes verification of plot ownership and sizes.

The Water CS was accompanied by top ministry officials, National Land Commission chair Muhammad Swazuri, governors Kivutha Kibwana of Makueni and Julius Malombe of Kitui, senators, MPs and ward representatives from the two counties.

“Already money for the acquisition of the land required in this project sits at National Lands Commission bank accounts,” said Mr Wamalwa.

DEVELOPMENT

According to Mr Paul Makuu, the head of committee of persons affected by the project, the residents were satisfied with Sh180, 000 per acre that the government has offered.

Both Prof Kibwana and Dr Malombe praised the dam project saying that it would potentially spur the much-awaited economic emancipation in the region.

Kitui Senator David Musila sought assurance from the CS of the government’s commitment to take the Thwake Dam project to completion.

Anticipating a conflict in the proposed uses of the water from the dam, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior called upon the project implementer to prioritise the irrigation component over the generation of electricity and commit to undertake other projects to help the residents from the ills that could come from the completed dam.

Mr Wamalwa then directed the contractor to also build a health facility for the residents.

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