Milestone as Athi River finally diverted into huge Thwake Dam tunnels
The builders constructing the multi-billion Thwake Multipurpose Dam on Friday, December 31, 2021 successfully managed to divert the course of Athi River waters into two mega tunnels of the dam.
The river diversion is considered a first of its kind in Kenya and a significant step to the success of the project whose Phase I was due for completion on November, 2022, however, this is being fast-tracked to have the dam completed in June 2022 as was directed by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta during his visit to the project in early July last year.
The two mega tunnels – each slightly over 700 metres long with a diameter of 12 metres – will be used as the alternative underground route for Athi before its waters are channeled to rejoin the original course.
Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program (TMWDP) is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya (GoK) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and being implemented in four phases by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation – with the bank as the major financier.
Speaking to a section of the press on site after witnessing the historic closure and diversion of the river, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed reiterated government’s commitment in supporting the implementation and fast-tracking the project towards its successful completion.
“Indeed this is a major milestone towards the successful completion of this project whose completion is at 65 per cent. Thwake Multipurpose Dam is a critical Flagship Project under the Vision 2030 of the Government of Kenya and a key project under the Government’s Big Four Agenda,” he said after witnessing the historic event.
As stakeholders, he added, the various ministries, state departments and agencies are working together to ensure that the contractor is paid on time to fast track the construction work at the site and they have no reason to delay.
Consequently, Mohammed disclosed that the government is in the final stages of acquiring additional 60 acres of land to facilitate construction of spillway, employer’s camp and dam expansion.
On his part China Ghezoubha Group Company (CGGC) General Manager, Frank Keeh, expressed their commitment in promoting Kenya’s socio-economic growth and development through the construction of this mega project.
“We appreciate the Government and local authorities for their support in executing this project that will spur socio economic development in the region besides benefiting the community,” said Keeh.
The project is currently employing close to 1,350 locals – both skilled, semi-skilled and non-skilled.
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.
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.
By Godffrey Olali