Ongoing construction at Thwake dam.

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved two loans worth Ksh 27.5 billion (€235.763 million) for the completion of  construction work on Thwake dam. This 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. The loans were approved on November 14.

The package, which was requested by the government, comprises two loans – Ksh 22.5 billion (€192.570 million) from the Bank and Ksh 5 billion (€43.193) million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGFT). This additional support follows a Ksh 8.8 billion (€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:1) 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; 2) hydroelectric energy production; 3)  40,000 ha of irrigation.

The Bank’s Ksh 373 billion (€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.

The dam, which will benefit approximately 1.3 million people from the Lower Eastern Region, is 10 times the size of Ndakaini dam. It will also be the largest in East Africa.

The China Gezhouba Construction Group Corporation is in charge of the construction.

Speaking after its launch last year, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said that the dam will be a game changer in the region.



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