AfDB assures State of support, resources for Thwake Dam upstream clean-up

AfDB assures State of support, resources for Thwake Dam upstream clean-up

By Godffrey Olali

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has set aside significant resources that will ensure a robust clean-up of upstream water sources before the completion of Thwake Multipurpose Dam Project which is under construction in Makueni and Kitui counties.

The continental facility, has also reiterated that it is supporting the State fully in its quest to ensure realization of this ambitious venture by backing up the multi-sectoral committee drawn from a number of players and institutions to spearhead the catchment protection and pollution control activities on Athi River.

Speaking on Monday, September 13, 2021 during a tour of the AfDB-GoK funded multi-billion project, expected to benefit close to 1.3 million residents drawn from the rural parts of lower eastern counties of Makueni, Kitui and parts of Machakos, the AfDB Executive Director in charge of the East Africa Region, Mr. Amos Cheptoo, added that the bank was excited and impressed with the ongoing work at the dam.

The bank has invested significant amount of resources to clean the Nairobi River. The government is serious and all the multi-agencies responsible for the issues of environment and clean-up are working closely on the development of this mega dam,” he assured.

Already, the State has set up a multi-sectoral (inter-agency) committee drawn from a number of players and institutions in place to spearhead catchment protection and pollution control activities on Athi River.

A robust clean-up plan of Nairobi and Athi Rivers being funded by African Development Bank (AfDB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) to a tune of KES. 20 Billion, is on course.

The team is mandated to generate possible action lines that will be implemented to control pollution problems in Nairobi Basin Rivers which feed into the Thwake Dam. The team includes Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Athi Water Works Development Agency, Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Nairobi Metropolis Services (NMS) and Water Resources Authority (WRA).

While registering his pleasure and satisfaction with the ongoing works, Mr. Cheptoo said that Thwake Multipurpose Dam is a transformative project poised to tilt the development narrative of the areas and “the bank will support the government in ensuring that funding for subsequent phases of this project are secured.”

“The development impact of this project is immense and it will be a big game-changer for this nation and beyond,” said Mr. Cheptoo adding that the Bank will fast-track its completion so that millions of lives can be changed significantly.

During a recent visit to the site by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta early July, the Head of State directed the clean-up exercise of upstream water sources which will feed the dam. The government has also expressed a wish to have the Dam Project fast-tracked for completion in June 2022.

The mega dam, whose treated water is poised to benefit approximately 1.3 million people drawn from the rural areas of Kitui and Makueni Counties and those in Konza Techno City, is currently at 60% per cent.

“Once the Dam Project construction is completed in June 2022, the Bank will work with the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation and the National Treasury to ensure faster acceleration of the three remaining phases,” he said.

Mr. Cheptoo also appreciated some of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes being rolled-out by the Contractor – China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) within the surrounding areas.

The project has set aside Sh80 Million expected to assist in roll-out of social investment initiatives including rehabilitation and construction of new classrooms, sinking of community boreholes and rehabilitation of health centers.

In attendance during the tour were Project Implementation Team (PIT) Coordinator Eng. David Onyango, a section of PIT, AfDB Desk Officer at the National Treasury Stephen Makori, AfDB’s Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, (E.A) Mr. Jonathan Nzayikorera, Functional Manager, Hydropower & Dams, Africa – SMEC International Pty Ltd Mr. Rudolf Muijtens,  Consultant’s Authorized Representative (SMEC International Pty Ltd) Eng. Chike Uchendu, Senior Resident Engineer Eng. Pius Musis, CGGC Managing Director, Kenya Branch Mr. Fang Ke, CGGC Thwake Project Manager Mr. Xiong Wentao and a section of project staff.

Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program is designated as a Vision 2030 project by the Government of Kenya (GoK) and anchored on the Big4 agenda to fulfill the long-term country’s development ambition in the areas of water, energy, agriculture and flood mitigation.

The program is being implemented in four phases including construction of 80.5m high multi-purpose dam with a storage of 688m m3 of water, development of hydro-power generating system with an installed capacity of approximately 20MW, development of water supply and sanitation infrastructure to supply an estimated volume of 150,000 m3 per day of treated water to serve approximately 1.3 Million people drawn from the rural areas of Kitui, Makueni and Konza Techno City and irrigation scheme development to ultimately irrigate 40,000 Hectares of land.

The official is also scheduled to tour other AfDB funded projects in the country including Kenol-Sagana-Marwa road improvement project, Ahero-Kisii road improvement project, Kisii-Sirare road, water and sanitation projects in Oyugis and Kendu-Bay areas, Eldoret by-pass road project, Last Mile projects being implemented in Kesses, Cheplaskei and Kapsaret areas in Rift Valley.

Later, he is expected to have a wrap-up meeting with Cabinet Secretaries Sicily Kariuki (Water, Sanitation and Irrigation), Ambassador Ukur Yattani (National Treasury and Planning), Charles Keter (Energy), Prof. George Magoha (Education), James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development) and Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge.