Kenyan Government Commence Talks on the Long Awaited Soin-Koru Dam Project

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The Government recently commenced discussions with contractors to resume the stalled construction work on the Soin-Koru dam project. The KES 19.9 billion (US$122M) project, once complete, will boost the Ahero irrigation scheme’s rice production.

A multipurpose dam, the Soin-Koru Dam is situated approximately 5 kilometers away from Muhoroni town, across the Nyando River.

The Soin-Koru Dam project, proposed by the government, will alleviate the problems of flooding on Nyando River’s lower reaches. The dam will be capable of irrigating 2,570 Hectares of land along with generating 2.5MW of hydroelectric power.

Expected to be a rockfill dam, the proposed project will have an impermeable core made of clay. Fully funded by the Government of Kenya, the facility is expected to have a capacity of 93.7Million cubic meters.

The Soin-Koru Dam project contractor

The talks came six months later after China Jiangxi International Kenya Limited and China Jiangxi International Economic and Cooperation Company Limited, the contractor, suspended the undertaking in the country due to a lack of pay.

Registered in 1983 and approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, CJIC (China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation) is a well-known compound foreign economic enterprise. It focuses on massive international project contracting as well as provision of labor services corporations. It is also diversified in the field of domestic real estate, overseas investment, architectural design and trading simultaneously.

The Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary, Zachariah Njeru, during a recent tour of the Soin-Koru dam project, assured the residents that the Government is dedicated to make sure that the project bordering both the counties Kisumu and Kericho, commences and bolsters Ahero’s rice production.

Who is funding the project’s execution?

The Government of Kenya is funding the Soin-Koru dam project execution. Construction work on the project, which had been in planning for almost three decades, began on 27th August 2022. It is said that the project’s contractor demanded KES 846.5 million before commencing excavation.

The contractor, according to Njeru, was given KES 499 million (US$3M) advance payment. He utilized the funds over the past year in mobilizing workers as well as equipment. The amount was also used to set up campsites for the contractors, resident engineers camp, carry out the dam’s geotechnical investigation as well as purchase construction materials.

Why the contractor stalled operations

The CS also claimed that the Soin-Koru dam project was allotted KES 100 million (US$615,337) by the government of Kenya in the 2022-2023 financial year budget. This made it difficult for the contractor to carry on as expected since the amount was far from what had initially been proposed.

One huge positive expected when the project is fully executed is that the initiative would reduce the cost of rice production. This is because the dam would use gravity to feed water into the Ahero Irrigation Scheme.

Construction of Soin-Koru Dam soon to commence.

The irrigation scheme incurs up to Sh. 4.5 million bills monthly since it currently uses electric pumps.

He claimed that the pumps would be decommissioned once the dam’s construction is completed. According to him, the government, along with the farmers, would immensely benefit because the cost of rice production would reduce.

Currently, the scheme is benefiting more than 30,000 farmers.

The Cabinet Secretary also lauded the management of the scheme and committed to help farmers as well as the authority attain its goals.

Areas that would receive water from the Soin-Koru dam

72,000 cubic meters of water would also be supplied to Kaitui, Kapsoit, Katitu, Kipsitet, Awasi, Muhoroni and Ahero towns. This is according to CS Njeru.

The Soin-Koru dam project is also expected to produce 2.5 megawatts at the Sondu Miriu Power Station.

The government of Kenya is looking to boost rice production up to 846,000 tones, from 128,000 tones. This will be achieved through the National Rice Development Strategy, by the year 2030.

The objective to boost the production of rice comes after the NRDS 2019-2030 was implemented. The NRDS, which is currently ongoing, looks to bolster Kenya’s rice production to an extent of becoming self-sufficient.

In order to attain their goals, the National Rice Development Strategy is working on developing new variety of rice that needs less water but with better output.

About the Ahero Irrigation Scheme

Situated in the Kano plains, between Nyabondo plateau and the Nandi Escarpment, the Ahero Irrigation Scheme was established as a pilot irrigation initiative to explore irrigation feasibility in Kano Plains.

The scheme’s construction commenced in 1966 and it was commissioned in 1969.

54 years later, the Government of Kenya is seeking to revamp its dilapidated state, and provide technical support to the farmers, with an aim of boosting rice production. In November of 2023, the National Irrigation Authority obtained Sh3 billion, to carry out major rehabilitation works on the scheme, from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

According to Ken Ouma, Western schemes manager, a feasibility study and a technical survey on the project was carried out on the site by a team from JICA, before work commenced.

When will the feasibility study on the scheme be concluded?

The study, which is in line with the Kenya Kwanza Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, is expected to be completed in 2025. This will improve flood control in the area and increase food security.

Once the study is finished, and the project receives approval, major rehabilitation works on the scheme will commence. Perennial flooding has undermined the scheme’s operations for many years since its infrastructure has been damaged.

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