Top Stories / National
Thursday, 06 Oct 2016 16:15 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
Makueni and Kitui Counties are now set for the largest multipurpose dam investment in the country, whose construction is estimated to cost Sh62.13 billion. Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Programme under Kenya Vision 2030 will be used for water supply, hydro-power generation and irrigation development.
The water programme is expected to change the known semi arid Makueni and Kitui counties into agriculturally productive areas. The first phase of implementation started in 2014 involving environmental and social impact studies by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation through Program Implementation Team (PIT).
Principal Secretary for Water and Irrigation, Patrick Nduati, announced at the project site yesterday that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto will preside over the ground-breaking ceremony in January 2017. The project which is planned to be implemented in four phases will also be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) which will contribute Sh8 billion and the Kenya Government to contribute Sh54.13 billion.
The dam site will cover more than a kilometre downstream of Athi and Thwake Rivers extending to both Kitui and Makueni Counties. It is estimated the project will generate 20 Megawatts of hydro power where the beneficiaries will be mostly the proposed Konza Techno City, Emali, Sultan Hamud and their surroundings.
This project will see over 1,641 households being displaced from 9,185 acres of land and will involve a resettlement action plan through Tana Athi Water Services Board. This resettlement plan was also confirmed by Mr Ruto while addressing Kibwezi residents. He stated that the government has set aside an additional Sh700 million through a supplementary budget towards compensation.
Yesterday, the PS confirmed that the Ministry had remitted Sh1.45 billion to the National Land Commission for acquisition of land for the project.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has welcomed the project, stating that it would yield a huge boost to the county's economy. He further urged the residents to support this project.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.