Kenya’s Thwake Multipurpose Dam Is On Track For Completion

The dam is one of the main projects implemented under the Belt and Road Initiative.

By Chriselle Moraes on
14th October 2022

The Thwake Multipurpose Dam project is being implemented by the Tanathi Water Services Board (TAWSB) and involves harnessing the flows of the Athi River and seasonal water from the Thwake River.

On completion, the Thwake dam will be the second largest dam in Kenya, and will provide water for domestic, livestock, irrigation, hydropower, and industrial activities. The dam will mostly serve areas in Makueni (Kalawa, Kathonzweni, Kibwezi, and Makindu) and neighbouring districts and certain parts of Kitui based on topography.

Thakwe dam is immediately downstream from the confluence of the Athi and Thwake rivers in the Mavindini Division (on the Makueni side) and Kanyangi Division (on the Kitui side). The flow back from the dam will reach the Kathulumbi Division of the Mbooni district. 

The Kenyan government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are jointly funding the project.

According to the government, the contractor – China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) – is receiving timely funding to ensure the successful completion of the project within the stipulated timeframe. It has been reported that that an estimated US$148 million has been spent on construction works so far, and that pending disputes with those affected by the project have been resolved.

Dr. Julius Muia, National Treasury Principal Secretary, stated that the project forms part of a primary focus area of the National Government and will be a key enabler for realizing the Government’s Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030 blueprint. 

Work on the project is being undertaken in four phases:

  • Phase 1 – Construction of an 80.5-metre-high multipurpose dam. (688 million cubic metre storage capacity) and preliminary associated works to implement Phases 2, 3, and 4. This includes the development of water supply, sanitation, and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Phase 2 – Construction of hydropower and substation development, generating at least 20 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity.
  • Phase 3 – Development of a water supply system for treating and distributing up to 150,000 cubic metres of treated water per day to millions of rural inhabitants of three countries and Konza TechnoCity and its environs. 
  • Phase 4 – Development of irrigation works for 40,075 hectares (100,000 acres).

Successful implementation of the dam will also enable the implementation of the Konza Technopolis technology hub. This is the main project under Kenya’s Vision 2030. It will comprise three main areas – information and communication technology, life sciences, and engineering. It will be a key economic hub for Kenya and draw power and water supply from the Thwake Dam.

Top Photo: Ongoing construction work at the Thwake Dam (@ThwakeWater Twitter Handle)

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