Kenyan Govt cleans up Athi River ahead of Thwake dam completion

Kenyan Govt cleans up Athi River ahead of Thwake dam completion

The government of Kenya has commenced cleaning of river Athi, ahead of completion of the Thwake Multipurpose dam project in Makueni and Kitui counties.

Water PS Joseph Irungu said the Ministry of Water in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry as well as Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) have started in earnest, efforts to clean up the river from its source in Ondiri swamp in Kiambu county together with Nairobi river, a tributary.

“Athi River is the main source of water for the dam. Unfortunately, it’s the most polluted. However, it will be cleaned as we promised because we are not doing a dam to hold sewage, but a dam to provide clean and safe water for Kenyans,” said PS Irungu.

“The main problem is Nairobi where raw sewage is disposed into the river, but the contractors have already started working. We have also set up a treatment plant in Ruai to treat the water waste before it’s discharged to the river,” he added.

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Vision 2030 flagship project

The dam, located at the confluence of river Thwake and Athi river, is a Vision 2030 flagship project jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The project is being implemented in phases.

The first phase, which is currently on course, involves construction of an 80.5m high multi-purpose dam with 688 million cubic meter storage capacity and associated preliminary works needed to enable implementation of other three phases. Phase Two of the work will involve construction of hydropower and substation development expected to generate at least 20MW of installed capacity.

The third phase will involve development of water supply system to treat and distribute up to 150,000 cubic metres of treated water per day to millions of rural inhabitants of three counties and inhabitants of Konza TechnoCity and its environs.

The last stage of the project will see development of irrigation works for up to 40,075 hectares of land (approximately 100,000 acres of land). The dam will also produce 20 megawatts of hydroelectricity which will enhance manufacturing while over 100,000 acres of land will be put under irrigation, creating food security.