The 15.6 million cubic meters Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga is now full to capacity and water is now flowing through the spillway to the Thiba River. The water impounding process that started in May this year has witnessed periodical closure of the river to fill the dam.
The Dam, whose construction began two years ago, was concluded in June, approximately two months before the deadline. The project cost taxpayers Sh400 million less than the originally projected cost of Sh8.2 billion.
The project which was done by contracted German Company Strabag, funded by the Government of Kenya through National Irrigation Authority and partnering with the Japan International Cooperation Agency will double the production of rice in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme due to continuous supply of water.
The Dam will open to provide water to farmers during the dry season allowing them to grow rice twice in a year.
Daniel Nzozo, Communication Manager National Irrigation Authority (NIA), said the main purpose of the Dam is to raise the acreage of land under irrigation in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
“The Dam is set to provide water to the Mwea Irrigation Scheme and make sure farming goes on year in and year out uninterrupted,” he said.
Speaking at Thiba Dam after inspecting the capacity of water exiting through the spillway, Nzozo added that the water going out of the Dam is like natural flow and spillway is a safety evacuation to release excess supply of water when the dam reaches full capacity.
“The dam is now at full capacity and excess water upon reaching capacity exits through spillway into the downstream,” he added.
He noted that with increased rice production which is one of the most consumed crops in Kenya, the country will reduce the expenditure in importing rice to meet the demands of the citizens.
“The rice production will double in Mwea, this means that the country will save on import cost and the funds can be channeled to other valuable projects,” Mr. Nzozo noted.
In addition, he commended on the water users along River Thiba for their understanding during initial stages of water impounding where the river was being closed.
“We started in May by closing the river flow for 10 days. We did public participation and we appreciate the water users for their good responses, from today they will not experience water shortages,”
Engineer Stephen Mutinda, project Manager Thiba Dam, said they have put all security measures in the level of water. He added that fencing has been completed and all entry points are controlled.
“We have instruments to measure all levels and controls,”
“Around this Dam is 24 hour security, all people entering must seek permission from relevant personnel,” Mutinda said.
Mutinda said based on the seasons there will be no shortage of water for farmers during planting and flowering of their rice.
By Mutai Kipngetich