More thirst as Thwake dam completion date moved forward

The original completion date of Thwake Multipurpose Dam’s first phase at the confluence of the River Athi and Thwake has been pushed until October 2024.

This comes as a result of the contractor’s request for an extension to finish the initial phase of the Sh64 billion project. Residents of Ukambani will thus be forced to wait a little longer for water from the Thwake Dam.

“The contractual completion date of the first phase of the project is February 6, 2024. The contractor has however given notice of intention to ask for extra time to complete the job due to various technical reasons including the El Niño rains. Once the application is analyzed by the ministry, a decision will be made as to the new completion date,” Water Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru told the media after visiting the site.

He had led a government delegation in touring the project site on Tuesday. CS Njeru also pointed out that the dollar’s recent increase has an impact on material purchases. This is in addition to the delays brought on by the coronavirus’s devastation in 2020. He stressed that despite this, the government is nevertheless pleased with the dam’s construction progress. At 89 percent completion, the dam is compliant with all necessary requirements.

“So far Sh22 billion has been spent in the construction works,” the CS revealed, flanked by PS Julius Korir. Njeru added that the first phase must be finished. The government will then follow up with the three remaining phases—hydropower production, water distribution, and irrigation.

The CS highlighted the ongoing legal dispute between the contractor, China Ghezhouber Construction Company, and one of their subcontractors. He stated that the government is committed to delivering the dam to the locals. Area Deputy Governor Lucy Mulili, on her part, praised the impending water project as a game-changer for the area.

“After the project is finished, Makueni residents will have access to water for both domestic use and agricultural irrigation. This will help fight food insecurity,” she stated.

The locals are afraid President William Ruto’s administration isn’t committed to completing the dam due to the back-and-forth. CS Njeru, however, made a promise that the government would do everything in its power to see the project through. This was necessary to alleviate rising concerns. “President Ruto is keen to have the Thwake Dam project delivered on time. As the government, we shall do whatever we can to support the contractor.” He assured.

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