The multipurpose Thwake dam under construction in Makueni county will be a key cog in the success of the Konza Technopolis. ICT Principal Secretary, Jerome Ochieng said the tech city will draw most of its water from the reservoir whose construction is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Speaking from Makueni, the PS said the Konza-Thwake interdependence is an example of the intertwining efforts of the various infrastructural sub-sectors and which are key to the realisation of the government’s development programmes.
“Reliable water from the dam will be a key element. As part of a multi-agency approach within the national government, we, as Konza City team, are here to agree with the technical team over here on logistics and we are looking forward to get the much-needed water from the dam,” the PS said during a tour of the dam.
He described the availability of clean, efficient and reliable water from the dam as a critical element and a game-changer to the development of the ongoing ICT Technopolis. “We are also putting out our request to the County Government of Makueni on the need for collaboration and prudent supply of sufficient and clean water for Konza,” he said.
Ochieng was accompanied by Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana, the the Konza Technopolis Board of Directors chair Reuben Mutiso, Konza managing director John Tanui and KoTDA board members.
The PS lauded the progress of the project, whose completion current stands at 43.4 per cent against a time lapse of 54 per cent. “The progress means there is synergy and collaboration from all stakeholders to ensure the project is completed within given timelines despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
PS Ochieng added that plans were underway to have internship programmes in the project for students in order to build local capacities and transfer of knowledge and technical exchange in the spirit of “Buy-Kenya-Build Kenya” initiative. “This is a key project because it will answer the critical water question both to the local community and beyond Makueni. Furthermore, provision of power and irrigation components are other elements which will change lives of over 1.3 million residents of this area and even beyond, these are important to us as a country,” he said.
Governor Kibwana promised to facilitate smooth implementation of the dam being constructed at the confluence of rivers Thwake and Athi in Makueni and Kitui counties. “Thwake is one of the stand-out projects in this country, and as a county government, we are pleased with the work done and I am encouraged that it is getting almost at the half point.
A big project like this is poised to change cultural orientation of a people. I applaud the progress,” he said. The governor noted that a reliable and sufficient water supply will make the techno city even more attractive to investors. “I am equally impressed that the government has also set aside Sh24 billion for irrigation component. We hope to see its actualisation and concurrent implementation,” said Kivutha.
The reservoir, in the first phase, 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 works will involve construction of hydropower and substation with at least 20MW of installed capacity. The third phase will involve development of water treatment and supply system to distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of treated water per day to Konza city and millions of residents in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties.
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.