The construction of Thiba dam will be completed by the end of this year and filling it with water would commence soon after.
The project manager Engineer Stephen Mutinda assured the Kirinyaga County Development Implementation and coordination committee that was on an inspection tour Friday that the dam was 52 percent complete, adding all the major works have been completed.
“With these major works now completed what is remaining will be done between now and December when we will officially hand over the mega project to our client the Government of Kenya, “said Mutinda.
The committee that included three Principal Secretaries, Prof. Hamadi Boga of Agriculture, Andrew Kamau (Petroleum) and Education’s Alfred Cheruiyot was also informed of various challenges which the contractor has been experiencing including delayed reimbursement of import taxes for the construction equipment and some legal issues concerning land compensation.
Speaking to the media later at the dam site, Kamau said his team was convinced the contractor would be able to deliver the Sh20 billion project by the end of the year.
He said once complete, Mwea rice farmers will be able to plant two crops per year since they will no longer depend on rain-fed agriculture.
The dam which will hold 15 million cubic meters of water will be used by the farmers within Mutithi section where the existing scheme is being expanded by 10,000 acres.
Currently, Mwea Irrigation scheme has 25,000 acres under rice cultivation that would rise to 35,000 acres once the dam project is completed. The expansion would translate to double production of paddy rice according to the National Irrigation Authority Director-General Gitonga Mugambi
“As from next year after the project is handed over, rice production in Mwea will double from the current 120,000 metric tons to about 250,000 metric tons due to the double cropping,” Mugambi who was present said.
He also said the income from the crop which stands at Sh9 billion will also shoot up to about Sh20 billion per year and improve the wellbeing of the farmers.
Mugambi said the project commenced in December 2018 and was progressing on well despite some of the challenges the contractor had raised.
Later the team which was being conducted to the tour by Kirinyaga County Commissioner Jim Njoka visited Wang’uru stadium whose construction is at 70 percent completion.
Later Prof. Boga told the media at the facility that the contractor had given his word that the Sh300 million projects will be ready for use by this August.
“When completed this stadium which will have the state of the art facilities will be able to hold local, national and even international events, hence uplift the economic standards of the Ngurubani town which is within the area,” the PS noted.