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Works at Soin-Koru dam to start soon after tender is floated

woman wades through flood waters in Kobura
A woman carries a child on her shoulders as she wades through flood waters in Kobura after the Nyando river burst its banks. The Soin-Koru dam is expected to end the problem. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Construction of the Sh40 billion Soin-Koru multipurpose dam will start soon, with designs and feasibility studies already finalised.

The project is expected to reduce flooding in lower areas of the River Nyando, and supply water for domestic use, irrigation and hydroelectricity.

A tender notice issued on Thursday shows the dam will have a water storage capacity of 93.7 million cubic metres and provide 72,000 cubic metres of water per day for domestic and institutional use and irrigation of 2,570 hectares of land. It will also be used to generate 2.5 megawatts of hydropower.

Among others, the water will be supplied to Kisumu city, Ahero, Chemelil, Miwani, Awasi, Muhoroni, Koitaburot, Koru and Rabuor.

The dam has also been earmarked as critical for the operation of the 1,000-acre Kisumu Special Economic Zone in Miwani.

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The National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority (NWHSA), the implementing agency, has invited eligible firms to submit bids by July 20. A pre-bid meeting and project site visit will take place on June 22.

Work on the project, which is funded by the government, is open for international bidders, while Kenyan contractors will supervise the construction of the first phase.

The proposed dam will be located on the border of Kisumu and Kericho counties on the Nyando river.

NWHSA director Bernard Okebe two months ago led a stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Kisumu to discuss compensation of those to be displaced, among other details about the project.

Mr Okebe expressed confidence that the project will end perennial flooding in the Nyando and Muhoroni areas.

“Politicians should shun peddling misinformation about the project that could lead to people resisting this noble initiative,” he said.

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o noted that, when completed, the project will provide a long-term solution to the flooding and provide clean water to residents.

Meanwhile, the government has terminated a Sh380 million contract for setting up the Bachuma Livestock Export Processing Zone in Taita-Taveta over the contractor’s slow pace.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya made the announcement when he toured the area to inspect works.

The CS said Techniques Supplies Ltd had failed to meet the agreed deadlines though money for the project was made available on time.

“We have instructed the contractor not to continue with the work because we don’t want to continue delaying this strategic project,” he said, adding that the government will ensure it is completed soon.

The project, which began in March 2015, is one of the government’s flagship projects aimed at boosting livestock and the beef export trade by facilitating access to markets.

Once completed, it will enable livestock traders to access lucrative markets in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Director arrested

In a related development, the director of the contract firm has been arrested by detectives for questioning.

Police sources said Mr Wesley Kibet will be arraigned in court after investigations are completed.

The contractor has been paid Sh200 million for phase one and two, but the project remains only 50 percent complete.

“We don’t think public resources have been spent well in this facility but I assure you that we will take appropriate action on whoever is responsible for the mess,” Mr Munya said.

He noted that although there were cash-flow problems on the government side, the contractor failed to continue with the work even when resources were made available.

In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta made an impromptu visit to the site to inspect the work. Previous CSs Willy Bett and Mwangi Kiunjuri and other top government officials had also raised concerns about the slow pace.

County Agriculture executive Davis Mwangoma said ranchers have been waiting to take advantage of the project and had already started stocking.

“We are grateful for the decision the government has taken to fast-track the completion of this project,” he said.

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