Construction of the Mwache multipurpose dam that will supply water to Kwale and Mombasa counties will be commissioned this month, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Funded by the World Bank, the dam on Mwache River in Kinango Sub-County will help tackle persistent water shortage at the coast.
"We have already settled on a contractor and the construction will begin in October," Mr Ruto said at Tiwi in Matuga on Saturday.
Once complete, the dam will ease perennial water crises in Mombasa and Kwale counties, he said, adding that the government has set aside funds for treatment works and laying of pipelines.
The pipes will be connected to villages to reduce the burden of mothers travelling long distances to fetch water.
"Kwale residents will benefit first before we supply water to Mombasa County," he said.
The dam is expected to pump at least 196,000 litres of water daily. It will take four years to complete and will require 1,600 acres, displacing more than 4,000 families.
Mr Ruto said the government is also constructing boreholes in the county to reduce water shortage.
Earlier, while speaking in Kinango, Mr Ruto assured Kwale residents that they would be fully compensated before construction of the dam starts.
The government has set aside Sh1.4 billion to compensate more than 3,000 families that will be displaced by the dam.
Mr Ruto gave this assurance at Mpirani Primary School where he held a public rally. He said the government would follow the law when compensing the affected families.
Phase one of the dam will cost Sh14.8 billion and is set to begin early next year.
“There is no need to worry. When the government carries out its projects, all the laid down procedures and processes, including compensation for the affected families, must be done. Households affected by this project will be paid; that I can assure you,” he said.
Mr Ruto then issued 3,400 title deeds to residents of Chigato location in Kasemeni Ward, one of the areas that will be affected by the construction.
He was accompanied by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and about 15 MPs and Senators.
Mr Ruto's sentiments followed concerns that some people were being secretly compensated.
Earlier, Mr Mvurya had said: “There are many speculations about compensation. Some people are even saying that I have been paid cash for this project. I am not directly linked to Mwache dam and I have not been paid a penny".
Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui was also present. He said: “Kwale and Mombasa counties will be the biggest beneficiaries".
Kinango MP Benjamini Tayari said locals should benefit from job opportunities created by the project.
In August, Water and Sanitation Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu said the compensation money was ready. “There are 3,000 to 4,000 people who will be compensated," he said.