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Construction of Mwache dam to commence in November

The construction works of the much-awaited Sh. 20 billion Mwache Multipurpose Dam project in Kwale County are set to begin next month.

The project whose contract was signed in August 2018 was delayed for several years as the constructor awaited the government to finalize the land compensation exercise.

Addressing the press in Kwale County, Permanent Secretary (PS) for Water in the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Joseph Irungu said, the government has finally made a breakthrough in the construction of the dam.

Irungu added that the government is working hard to ensure that all issues that have delayed the project including land compensation are finalized before November 1st.

Kwale County Governor Salim Mvurya speaks, flanked by NLC Commissioner Kazungu Kambi (left) and Water PS Joseph Irungu. They announced that the construction works of the Sh.20 billion Mwache Multipurpose Dam project in Kwale County will begin in November. Photo by Raymond Zaka

“The government has sent money to the National Land Commission to finalize the compensation exercise and we expect the commission to complete the exercises so that we can hand over the order of commencement to the contractor,” Irungu said.

Area Governor Salim Mvurya says a total of Sh. 4 billion shall be used to compensate individuals who will permanently lose their parcels of lands to the mega dam project.

The government announced that over 77 per cent of persons living in critical areas where the main dam shall be constructed have already been compensated.

The compensation exercise is expected to hit 90 per cent by next week as the National Land Commission (NLC) is set to expedite the disbursement of funds.

The project will require 1,600 acres of land and will involve displacement of approximately 12,000 persons whose assets and livelihoods may be affected, as well as access to natural or economic resources as a result of activities under the Mwache Dam Project.

The seven-year project co-funded by the World Bank and the Kenya Government through Kenya Water Security Programme is expected to eradicate the problem of water shortage in the counties of Kwale, Mombasa, and Kilifi.

“In partnership with the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation and NLC we have achieved significant progress in acquiring the priority land required which will allow the issuance of order to commence works in November this year,” said Mvurya.

The Dam is located across the Mwache River at the Fulugani village in Kinango Sub-County in Kwale County.

The Mwache Dam development project under the portfolio of the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation is a significant investment by the National Government as a flagship project under the Vision 2030.

Governor Mvurya expressed his gratitude to the national government for bringing in key projects in the county.

“I want to reaffirm my support for this project that will not only sustain our region of domestic water supply but also promote agribusiness in the region,” said the Governor.

Mvurya added that the dam will help residents who have been ravaged by drought over the decades.

‘‘We support this project wholeheartedly. We are very happy because this project will refurbish and replenish the economy of this county,’’Mvurya said.

The governor assured the national government that his administration will offer any kind of support to ensure that the project is successful.

The Mwache Dam is an 87.5-meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters of water with a daily supply of 186,000 cubic meters of water.

The massive dam once complete is also expected to put 2,600 hectares of land under irrigation in Kwale County and address the food shortage experienced in the county.

Irungu expressed gratitude to the residents of Mwache for supporting the project which is projected to change the economy of the coastal region.

“We thank the county government for their support in ensuring that we have reached this milestone. It’s through this cooperation that will make government projects successful” said the PS who was accompanied by NLC Commissioner Kazungu Kambi and Adrian Cutler, a representative from the World Bank.

He said ‘this huge project will produce 186 million cubic liters per day to supply Kwale and Mombasa counties.

Mwache dam is a project crafted in line with the big four agendas of President Uhuru Kenyatta of addressing the problem of water shortage and improving the country’s food security.

A visit to the site showed that Coast Development Authority (CDA) has completed activities around the project site such as tree planting, terracing, contour ploughing, rock terracing, gabion construction, and marking and pegging.

Kambi said the commission is at the peak of finalizing issues of land compensation adding that the commission has received funds from the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation and it will be channelled to the residents who await compensation with bated breath.

The NLC commissioner, a former Kaloleni MP and Labour Cabinet Secretary said compensation for 36 graves would be completed by next week.

“As I speak, don’t be surprised to hear that the residents have received their money. The commission is keen to ensure that by next week, 99 per cent of residents are compensated,” Kambi said.

The commissioner thanked the national government for bringing major development projects to the coastal region.

Kambi noted that once the project which will affect 12,000 people is complete, it will change the face of Kwale, Mombasa, and Kilifi.

Kambi asked the coastal residents to support the government’s projects to change their livelihoods.

”The government has invested heavily in the coastal region and it’s time to appreciate the effort made by President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Kambi added.

The commissioner recognized the World Bank for its support in changing the lives of the people of Kwale and the entire nation.

He said such support will eventually elevate the economic standards of the country.

Kambi asked the other coastal governors to emulate Mvurya’s administration which has offered endless support to the national government’s project.

By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi

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