Construction of the multi-billion Itare dam in Kenya to resume this September

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The construction of the multi-billion Itare dam in South Rift, Kenya, is set to resume in September 2024.

This was recently announced by Isaac Mwaura, the current Government Spokesperson of Kenya. Mwaura made the announcement in Nakuru when he led a delegation of State Officials on a tour to establish the status of government-funded projects in the devolved unit.

The Itare Dam project was launched back in 2015 and was projected to be completed in 2021. However, it stalled a while later and has been so for the last 5 years.

Why Itare Dam project stalled

Several challenges ranging from compensation, alleged flawed procurement processes and court cases led to the stagnation of the Itare dam project.

Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency is the project implementing body. According to the agency, by the time the project came to a total halt, only 30 per cent of the related works had been completed. These works included the construction of the dam foundation, treatment plant, outlet tunnel and pipeline system.

The company in charge of the works was CMC Di Ravenna, an Italian company involved in the construction of roads, rail, ports, waterways, civil, and industrial buildings. The company left the Itare dam project site in September 2018 citing financial reasons.

According to Isaac Mwaura, all the issues surrounding the project have so far been resolved paving the way for it to proceed. The government spokesperson also revealed that the project’s estimated cost has gone up by 5 billion from the initial 35 billion estimate to about 40 billion.

Furthermore, Mwaura mentioned that the Italian Government will fund the project while her Kenyan counterpart will look into the issue of taxes and compensation. Money collected from the supply of water to Nakuru residents, he continued, will be used to settle the debt.

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Importance of the Itare Dam Project

Speaking during the tour, Mwaura said that the Itare dam project is one of the 100 large dams that have been prioritised for construction across the country. These dams according to Mwaura are a part of the national government’s plans to address the water problem in the country.

The government spokesperson also mentioned that the dams are crucial in storing substantial amounts of runoff water, which currently contributes to the flooding situation in the country.

Once completed, the Dam will have the capacity to hold 27 million cubic meters of water and produce 100,000 cubic metres of water per day. Water from the Itare dam is set to benefit residents of Kuresoi North and South, Molo and Njoro Sub-counties, as well as Nakuru City and its environs.

During and after its construction phase the Itare Dam project will create over 3000 job opportunities, 10,000 of which will be filled by unskilled labourers sourced locally. This initiative therefore according to Mwaura not only seeks to provide water and reduce flooding but also to boost local employment and enhance the region’s economic development.

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