Rehabilitation works spearheaded by the Coast Development Authority-CDA on the Mwache multipurpose dam project site in Kwale County is gathering pace.
The construction works of the much-awaited mega water project co-funded by the World Bank and the Kenya government to the tune of 20 billion shillings is expected to begin in March 2021.
The construction of the Mwache dam project is meant to harness the flood flows from Mwache River basin in Kinango Sub-county and help tackle persistent water shortages in the Coastal region.
The 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 and Mombasa counties.
The massive dam when complete is expected to put 2,600 hectares of land under irrigation in Kwale County.
CDA Managing Director Dr. Mohamed Keinan said rehabilitation works on the dam site began in earnest in 2017 under the support of the Coast water security and climate change resilience project.
Dr. Keinan said the much talked mega-dam was first conceptualised by CDA in 1995 but plans to begin construction were hampered by lack of funding.
“We are currently increasing the forest cover for the entire Mwache catchment area that stretches from Taita Taveta County to Kwale” he said while on a monitoring and evaluation visit to the project site.
Dr. Keinan said 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.
He said population growth and growing demand for precious water resources has accelerated the construction of the mega dam.
“But now plans to begin construction were given fresh impetus when the government secured the required funding” said Dr. Keinan.
[CDA MD Dr. Mohamed Keinan (L) with CDA Mwache project site manager William Fondo inspects gabions built near the Mwache dam project. Photo/Ahmed Omar].
He said the government is banking on the Mwache dam reservoir as one that will offer a lasting solution to the water shortfall facing residents of Kwale and Mombasa.
The Mwache catchment management is being implemented by the CDA Project Implementation Unit (CDA PIU) in partnership with the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs), Kwale County Government, the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS), the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KeFRI) and the local community.
Dr. Keinan said Mwache when in full operability will ensure continued contribution to food security and economic growth, prosperity and poverty alleviation in the region.
He said CDA is helping train smallholder farmers and water users associations around the project site with modern farming techniques.
CDA project site manager William Fondo said the gabions built in gullies are a soil and water conservation practice used to cope with soil loss and reservoir situation.