Chinese firm to begin construction of Kenya’s largest fresh water dam

The High Grand Falls Dam will hold over 5.6 billion cubic metres of water.
The High Grand Falls Dam will hold over 5.6 billion cubic metres of water. PHOTO/FILE
Construction of the High Grand Falls Dam, Kenya’s biggest fresh water dam, is set to begin soon, as the government steps up efforts to meet its citizens’ demand for clean water.

The Sh150 billion dam to be built off Kibuka falls on River Tana will supply water to the proposed Lamu resort city and port while generating between 500MW and 700MW of electricity.

The 165 square kilometre High Grand Falls Dam will be funded through a public private partnership with firms from China and the Export-Import Bank of China providing the finances.

On Saturday, Planning PS Saitoti Torome said Kenya had finalized procurement process with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and they would soon embark on resettlement process.

“This project is going to improve the living standards of the locals especially in food security and supply of electricity,” Mr Torome said during his tour of Tharaka accompanied by Parliamentary Committee on Implementation and the Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) team.

On completion, the High Grand Falls Dam will hold over 5.6 billion cubic metres of water and will border three counties; Tana, Kitui and Tharaka Nithi. It will be Africa’s second largest dam after the 5,250-square kilometre Aswan High Dam in Egypt along the River Nile.

The water reservoir is part of the Sh1.5 trillion Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset) projects that are set to help Kenya achieve the Vision 2030.

The dam’s construction will begin at Marimanti in Tharaka Nithi, which will act as the coordination and site office. Tseukuru in Kitui County will form the coordination and site office for the resettlement programme.

The project will be completed in six years and it is expected to affect at least 4,500 households. The government has already completed the resettlement plan that will see 3,000 households resettled.

Other dams earmarked for construction include Badasa Dam in Marsabit, which will have a  holding capacity of 5 million cubic metres of water,  Mwache Dam (Kwale), Sio Dam (West Pokot), Hare Dam (Nyando) and Twake Dam (Makueni).

Twake Dam will be the main source of water for the proposed Konza City on the outskirts of Nairobi. Chemususu Dam (Koibatek), Maruba (Machakos) and Kiserian dam are already in place.

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