The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on 14 November a loan package worth nearly €236 million for the completion of construction work on the multipurpose Thwake dam at the confluence of the Thwake and Athi rivers in southern Kenya. The package, which was requested by Kenyan authorities, comprises two loans: €192.570 million from the AfDB and €43.193 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGFT).
This additional support follows a €76 million loan granted by the Bank in 2013 to start building the dam as part of the Thwake multi-purpose development programme (TMWDP). The programme aims to help regulate the river Athi, and provide drinking water, electricity and irrigation to approximately 1.3 million people in the semi-arid area of Makueni County and surrounding regions, including the new technology city of Konza.
The 80.5 m-high concrete faced rockfill dam, which is being built by China Gezhouba Group Corporation on behalf of the Tanathi Water Services Board, will impound a reservoir with a storage capacity of 681 x 106 m3 of water, ten times that of the 63 m-high Thika embankment dam near Ndakaini in central Kenya. A total of 625 x 106 m3 of the reservoir’s total capacity is to be used for electricity production and downstream irrigation of agricultural land, 34 x 106 m3 for household consumption and, 22 x 106 m3 for upstream irrigation.
Construction of the initial phase of the TMWDP project should be completed in December 2022.
This will be followed by three further phases: the construction of hydraulic plants to treat up to 34 600 m3 of water for household use for around 674 700 rural inhabitants and up to 117 200 m3 for some 640 000 residents in the technology city of Konza; followed by a 23 MW hydropower plant; and, finally, the development of an irrigation system for 40 000 ha of local land.