The County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) has praised the progress of Thwake Multipurpose Dam in Makueni County.
Led by Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed, the team on Friday inspected the multi-billion-shilling project that is jointly funded by the Kenya government and the African Development Bank.
Once completed, Thwake Multipurpose Dam is expected to change lives of close to 1.3 million residents of Makueni, Kitui and Machakos counties.
The team included a section of Project Implementation Team (PIT) from the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, representatives from Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), representatives from China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd which is the company constructing the dam and SMEC International Pty (K) Ltd which is the main consultant.
Speaking during the tour, Mr Mohammed said the contractor must recover lost time due to effects of Covid-19 pandemic. At least 400 workers were sent home as a measure to curb the spread of the virus.
He assured the residents that the government will ensure the workers are brought back once all the measures to combat the pandemic are put in place.
“In line with the Occupational Safety and Health Post-Covid-19 Return to Work Advisory issued by the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services, the dam management, comprising a section of Project Implementation Team from the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, the Consultant and the Contractor on July 8, 2020 held deliberations on preparations of a 17-Point checklist on strategies to be put in place as more workers are expected at the site,” Mr Mohamed said.
The team’s visit came just two weeks after another progress tour of the project by Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The CS reiterated that Thwake Dam will be completed in December 2022. The construction of the dam, which is at 37 per cent, has been slowed down since the onset of Covid-19.
“There has been a delay owing to the scaling down of workers due to the pandemic but we have agreed with the consultant to bring back 400 workers so that we can cover the lost time,” said the CS.
Once complete, the project will create jobs, spur development of scale industries, boost healthcare and sanitation and ensure food security in Makueni and Kitui counties.
Already, the ongoing civil works in phase one and related activities has created direct and indirect employment of at least 1,200 locals. The project will also improve sanitation and hygiene.
The first phase involves construction of an 80.5m high multi-purpose dam (688 million cubic meter storage capacity) and associated preliminary works needed to enable implementation of other three phases.
Phase Two will involve construction of hydropower and substation which is expected to generate at least 20 megawatts of electricity, while phase three will involve development of a water supply system to treat and distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of water per day to rural inhabitants of Kitui and Makueni counties and Konza City in Machakos County and its environs.
The last stage of the project will see development of irrigation works for up to 40,075 hectares of land in Kitui and Makueni counties.