State plans Sh8bn dam for Konza

Construction of a Sh8.5 billion dam that will supply water to Konza Technopolis City is expected to commence early next year.

The project which will be in four phases, will also provide sewerage facilities for the proposed Konza ICT city, Wote, Kathonzweni, Makindu, Kibwezi and Mtito-Andei towns by 2015.

Phase two of the project will entail generating 20 megawatts of power using two turbines. Phase three and four of the project will involve development of irrigation canals, off take facilities from the dam and rural water supply schemes sanitation facilities.

It will be funded by Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and a board presentation meeting has been set for Monday.

However, the Thwake project does not include construction of the rising mains for supply to the Konza ICT city as this will be funded by government.

“AfDB will be funding the largest dam to provide water in Konza at a cost of 100 million dollars and whose ground work should start early next year,” said Gabriel Negatu , regional director at East Africa Resource Centre.

The Konza city will be part of the Special Economic Zones that will replace the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and hopefully create more than 200,000 jobs.

It will be developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) model where the government will provide land and build other infrastructure such as roads, railway lines, water, telecoms and sewerage systems and also provide security.

The government has also offered a raft of tax incentives for investors putting up capital at Konza Technopolis as it seeks to leverage the take-off of Kenya’s planned premier city.

Top on the list of the incentives is tax exemption from income for the first 10 years, dividends and any other payments made to non-residents during the period are some of the goodies.

ICT secretary Fred Matiang’i on Thursday said the construction of the dam will boost the project’s attractiveness to investors.

“The first phase of the project will kick off before Christmas and the construction of Thwake dam is expected to lift the project’s profile among investors,” Dr Matiang’i said.

“The Government of Kenya has initiated the development of the Konza ICT City, a high-tech development which is targeted to benefit from the proposed Thwake project for its water supply. The Thwake project therefore fits very well with the country’s vision of establishing an ICT City and the successful implementation of that vision rests on the implementation of the Thwake project, “ reads part of AfDB report on the project.