Thwake Multipurpose Dam at the heart of AfDB’s priority projects, says Mission during site appraisal tour

Thwake Multipurpose Dam at the heart of AfDB’s priority projects, says Mission during site appraisal tour

Wote, Makueni, Friday, June 16, 2023

A delegation from the African Development Bank (AfDB) has concluded a Supervision Mission of Thwake Multipurpose Dam project, being constructed on the border of Kitui and Makueni counties.

The team, on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 conducted a comprehensive site supervision exercise and had the opportunity to meet officials from China Gezhouba Group Company Limited – the Chinese company tasked with delivering the Vision 2030 project, the Supervising Consultant SMEC, the Program Implementation Team and counterparts from the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation.

The delegation was led by Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program Task Manager at AfDB, Ms. Nancy Ogal and her colleagues; Ms. Emily Kilongi, and Ms. Winnie Wairimu.

During the Mission, which took place between June 12-16, 2023, the team also met and held discussions with officials from the National Treasury, where talks dwelt on disbursement challenges and interventions.

The Mission further engaged with the Dam Safety Panel of Experts (DSPE) – a leading technical Dam Construction Think-Tank comprising international experts, to solicit their views on the status of program implementation.

“Thwake Multipurpose Dam is at the heart of bank’s priorities in the water and sanitation sector, not in Kenya alone but in other regions too. We want to see delivery of a dam that will bring development,” said Ogal during the meeting.

Other AfDB officials provided input to the Mission through virtual meetings and bilateral discussions with individual members of the Project Implementation Team. The discussions covered areas such as financial management, procurement and disbursement.

The Mission, however noted with concern delays in the working program of works and other challenges, which they promised to jointly mitigate with the implementation teams.

The Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation is implementing this flagship program to fulfill the long-term country’s development ambition in the areas of water, energy and agriculture.

The program comprises a multi-purpose dam for water supply, hydropower generation and irrigation development. It will also provide regulation of flows on River Athi downstream of the dam for flood control and drought mitigation.
The implementation of the dam civil works and other related activities is currently ongoing with overall progress of works at 84.06 per cent.

The project has however faced some delays blamed on factors such as scaling down of labor force, thanks to Covid-19 pandemic and acute shortages of explosive used for blasting of rock to fill the embankment.

The contractual completion of November 2022 was not realized due to technical challenges at the river bed that had a lot of poor foundation soil that required further technical investigations to resolve costing the contractor valuable progress time.

This prompted the DSPE advise that construction completion should allow adequate settlement of the Dam Embankment before placement of the concrete face to the embankment.

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