KENYA: Sinohydro starts construction of Mwache irrigation dam with delay
By Inès Magoum – Published on / Modified on
The President of the Republic of Kenya William Ruto kicks off the construction of the Mwache water reservoir project, after several false starts. The work is being carried out by Sinohydro Corporation and Engineering of China.
Work on the Mwache multipurpose dam has begun. The foundation stone for the project was laid on April 6, 2023 by Kenyan President William Ruto. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in 2018, but has been postponed several times due to land disputes and compensation issues. The last deadline for the project’s launch in Kwale County was February 2022. The construction of the Mwache water reservoir is therefore more than five years late.
The 20 billion Kenyan shillings (more than $176 million) contract was awarded by the Kenyan Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation to Sinohydro Corporation and Engineering of China. The Beijing, China-based company has seven years to deliver the dam.
Water for drinking and irrigation
The dam will be built on the Mwache River in the village of Fulugani. The structure will cover an area of 250,000 hectares, with a 87.5 m high concrete gravity dam. The dam lake that will be formed is expected to hold 118 million m3 of water. The dammed water will be pumped to irrigate 2,600 hectares of land in Kwale County.
The project will also build the resilience of smallholder farmers in Mombasa and Kilifi counties. It is a response to drought in a country where famine is affecting 2.4 million people across 20 arid and semi-arid northern counties, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Water from the Mwache dam will also be treated to supply the population through a plant with a capacity of 186,000 m3 per day. The construction of the Mwache Dam is part of the Water Security and Climate Resilience Project for Kenya. The initiative, which is financially supported by the World Bank, also aims to improve the institutional framework and build capacity for water security and climate resilience in the East African country.