Thakwe Dam, a massive investment planned to cover three counties in Eastern Kenya has received a major lift after the board of directors of the African Development Bank approved two loans worth €235.763 million for the completion of construction work on Thwake dam.
The dam is a strategic water supply project for the large semi-arid area of Makueni County and surrounding regions, including the new technology city of Konza as well as Kitui and Machakos counties.
The Sh64 billion project was announced last year and President Kenyatta witnessed the signing of agreements between the National and county governments of its construction. The contract was signed by the State Directorate of Irrigation Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein, witnessed by the then Cabinet Secretary of Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa and the Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu.
The package from AfDb which was requested by Kenyan authorities, comprises two loans – €192.570 million from the Bank and €43.193 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGFT).
This additional support follows a €76 million loan granted by the Bank in 2013 to start building the dam as part of the Thwake Multi-Purpose Development Programme (TMWDP), which aims to provide drinking water, hydroelectric energy and irrigation.
Completion of the 80.5 m high multi-purpose dam will enable the storage of 681 million m3 of water, of which 625 million m3 will be used for electricity production and downstream irrigation of agricultural land; 22 million m3 for upstream irrigation and 34 million for human use.
Construction in the initial phase of the TMWDP project should be completed in December 2022.
This will be followed by three further phases: the construction of hydraulic plants to treat up to 34,600 m3 of water for household use for 674,700 rural inhabitants and up to 117,200 m3 for 640,000 residents in the technology city of Konza; hydroelectric energy production; and 40,000 ha of irrigation.
The Bank’s €3.2 billion Kenya portfolio comprises 33 operations. Water and sanitation operations account for about 22% of the portfolio’s value for the public sector.
There has been delays as the government worked on modalities of how those displaced by the project will be compensated. With the new funding, the construction company tasked with this work, China Gezhouba Group Company is expected to commence work.
The dam civil works comprises of river diversion, earth works for the dam structure and cutoff trench, grouting, two spillway structures an intake tower and site access roads. It will be 77 m high above the lowest elevation of the river bed.