PHOTO | Courtesy

The Coast Development Authority (CDA) has commenced rehabilitating areas surrounding the multi-billion Mwache Multipurpose Dam project in Kwale County.

Construction work on the much-awaited mega water project co-funded by the World Bank and the Kenya Government to the tune of Ksh 20 billion is expected to begin soon.

Mwache Dam is an 87.5 meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters for water supply and irrigation and is expected to boost the water supply for Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties.

The construction of the Mwache Dam project is meant to harness the floodwaters from Mwache River basin in Samburu Sub County and help tackle persistent water shortages in the coastal region.

CDA Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Keinan said the project which was first mulled by CDA in 1995 has been delayed due to lack of funding.

He said the mega dam when complete is expected to put 2,600 hectares of land under irrigation in Kwale County besides boosting the fortunes of Kwale and Mombasa by supplying 186,000 cubic meters of water to the two counties daily.

According to Dr. Keinan rehabilitation works on the dam site under the aegis of the Coast Water Security and climate change resilience project is almost complete.

Dr. Keinan said CDA has undertaken rehabilitation and restoration of degraded ecological areas around the dam site ahead of its launch.

The dam when in full operability will ensure continued contribution to food security and economic growth, prosperity and poverty alleviation in the region.

“We are currently increasing the forest cover for the entire Mwache catchment area that stretches from Taita Taveta County to Kwale. other ongoing activities include tree planting, terracing, contour ploughing, rock terracing, gabion construction, and riparian marking and pegging to allow for the regeneration of natural vegetation,” said Dr Keinan.

He said stakeholders including the local community and the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) are being sensitized on the need to support the project that will end water scarcity in the region and boost irrigated farming.

The CDA MD says several residents around the project site welcomed the dam rehabilitation and improvement activities.

Dr. Keinan added that compensation for land that will enable area residents to yield to the ambitious dam project is almost complete.

On compensation to the residents he says much progress has been done and that those affected will soon receive their compensation packages.

“We have come up with two models of compensation to the local residents that would be affected by the project one is where the national government and the county government of Kwale will compensate the residents or they would be compensated through a public private partnership model,” he said.

CDA has built gabions and done markings and pegging around the banks of the dam site to ensure local farmers do not cultivate on riparian land.

Peter Seronga Kasemeni location Assistant County Commissioner asked residents to fully embrace the Multi-billion dam that is set to be constructed in the area.

Seronga said the multi-billion project will be of great help to the communities living there by ensuring all-year-round farming through irrigation projects.

He said the dam project will be providing adequate water supply for residents and their crops and livestock.

On her part, Charity Santa the Samburu Assistant County Commissioner says it is prudent for the residents around the dam site to take the project positively because it has a number of benefits to them.

She said locals are themselves to blame for the environmental degradation through cutting down of trees for charcoal production.

Santa called on charcoal producers to engage in afforestation to curb deforestation in the region.

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