The construction of Thiba Dam in Gichugu, Kirinyaga County which was completed over a month ago has marked its huge milestone as River Thiba is closed for the next eight days to fill the Dam.
The closing of the gate outlet was presided over by National Irrigation Authority (NIA) CEO Gitonga Mugambi.
Addressing the press after the activity, Mugambi said the four years’ project is complete and is a big boost for Mwea Farmers. He said the projects will double the rice production.
“It is a big day for us as an institution, Kirinyaga and country at large because we have completed Thiba Dam, we are here today to lower the gate so that we start impounding of the water,”
“This exercise will go on for the next 5-8 days,” Mugambi said. He said the beneficiaries are not only farmers but for everybody who consume rice in the country.
“We are marking a new beginning where Mwea farmers will get enough water for the Mwea Scheme and will help expand the area under rice crop,” he added.
“This will also enable them to do double crop in a year which will increase the production. We are happy as NIA to be part of this,” the CEO said.
Elisa Ndindi, programme officer, Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), said they are proud to partner with the Kenya government, NIA and other players to ensure the success of the project.
He noted the Japanese government supported with Ksh. 8 billion. He said the project will limit the importation of crop.
“We are happy of what NIA has done to achieve this project today, there are similar projects done elsewhere but despite challenges they have completed this one,” Ndindi said
He noted the Japanese government will also partner in all areas to ensure sustainability of the country.
Maurice Mutugi, chairperson of Mwea Water Users Association, said this is the right time to close the river because there is not much farming activity going on. He noted that he has communicated to the farmers about the closure.
On his part, Gichugu Sub County Deputy County Commissioner James Wanyoike urged the public to take advantage of the availability of water. He said they are working closely with NIA to provide safety measures around the dam.
“We are working with the CEO to ensure that this dam fenced because we will have a lot of water, also we as security we will work to ensure we enlighten the community,” he said.
By Mutai Kipngetich