KENYA – The government of Kenya has partnered with the World Bank to construct a KES 20 billion (US$ 150M) dam project in Kwale, the first of its kind in East Africa according to The Star.

The project is envisioned to contribute to the state’s goal of shifting from reliance on rain-fed agriculture to sustainable irrigation systems for the realization of food security in the country. 

According to The Star, the mega project was inaugurated by Dr. William Ruto, the president of Kenya who oversaw the groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

The proposed dam is situated on the Mwache River in Kwale County and is forecasted to be completed by August 2026.

According to official records, the multi-purpose dam will be an 87.5-meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters of water each day.

It is also expected to boost the fortunes of Kwale and Mombasa by putting 7,000 acres of land under irrigation.

A decade-long project

According to officials, the project was initiated by the State in 2013 but failed to kick off owing to land challenges.

In 2015, Kenya signed a KES 20 billion (US$ 150M) deal with the World Bank for the project as part of the Paris Pact Flagship Project that seeks to build resilient water systems in global cities.

However, the project failed to take off due to disagreements between local leaders and national government officials over the compensation terms for landowners

However, President Ruto has assured that the issues have now been fully resolved, setting the stage for the commencement of the long-delayed construction works

According to Ruto, the dam will be supplying 186,000 cubic meters of water to more than one million people, adding that the project will be crucial in enhancing water security, especially in times of drought and water scarcity.

This comes after the recent announcement of plans by the state to put three million acres of land under irrigation farming by 2030 in a move to shield itself from overreliance on rain-fed agriculture.

During the announcement, Water, Irrigation, and Sanitation, Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome intimated that the state is implementing several projects in different parts of the country to boost irrigation farming to achieve food security.

She added that in the next five years, 1. 8 million acres will be put under irrigation from the current 670,000 acres.

Commenting on the project, Wahome said the project will bolster agriculture, support industrial growth, and improve the overall quality of life for our people in the region.

She also revealed that the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation has prioritized the development of 100 dams in the country, to address water security, climate resilience, food security, and socio-economic development.

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