Thwake Water Project a key boost to Big 4 Agenda
Water has been regarded as one of the most critical determinants of socio-economic development and a key pillar which will propel the Government’s Big 4 Agenda. Indeed, even as we all agree that sustainable water availability, hydropower generation, irrigation and sanitation, will act as the pedestals upon which the Vision 2030 and the Big 4 master-plans will be anchored, the ongoing construction of the Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program (TMWDP) has come at the ample time to support this Presidential Action Plan. This complex and critical project, is set to transform parts of Makueni, Kitui and even Machakos counties.
Transformation of Kenya
The program, being implemented by the Government of Kenya (GoK) through the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation and through part-funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), will heavily contribute to the transformation of Kenya to mid-income status by 2030. When the government rolled out this spectacular architectural master-piece – touted to be the largest dam in East Africa – residents of these counties saw it as the missing link and the panacea to their “decades – old water question.”
The technocrats in the ministry -– which acts as the guide kid in this key enterprise – opine that indeed, Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program will critically transform the socio-economic enterprise of residents of these regions. The lower eastern parts of Kenya have suffered rampant water scarcity for decades, coupled by drought and famine therefore affecting millions of residents – especially women and school going children.
This is why the Government of Kenya – through sustainable water infrastructure development mantra – strategically places TMWDP as a key player in this ambitious drive.
Jobs and food security
Expected to be done in four phases, Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program will see the creation of thousands of jobs, emergence of small scale industries, boost to healthcare and sanitation, food security and irrigation.
Already, the ongoing civil works and related activities has seen both direct and indirect employment of more than 1,000 locals – both men and women who are mainly the bread winners for their families. Once complete, Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program will also provide regulation of flows on Athi River downstream of the dam for flood and drought mitigation thereby becoming a huge source of livelihoods to thousands of residents.
The first phase, which is currently on course, 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 of the work will involve construction of hydropower and substation development expected to generate at least 20MW of installed capacity, thereby enabling the residents to access much needed electricity to power small-scale industries, irrigate their farms hence transforming lives. The program’s third phase will involve development of water supply system to treat and distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of treated water per day to approximately 1.3 million rural inhabitants of Kitui and Makueni counties and up to 626,000 inhabitants of Konza City in Machakos County and its environs.
By supplying water and power to Konza City, TMWDP will hugely contribute to the envisioned smart city where innovative groups will develop and apply modern technology in the world-class enterprise which will be powered by a thriving and reliable water and power infrastructure. 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 (approximately 100,000 acres of land). By this, the ambitious project will heavily contribute to promotion of irrigation in order to attain food security and agricultural commercialization hence contribute to the Government’s Big 4 Agenda.
By Godffrey Olali – The writer is a Senior Communications Specialist for Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program.