The residents want the Sh62 billion ($601 million) Thwake dam to produce water for domestic purposes and irrigation, while the government insists on electricity, the Daily Nation reported.
The project is designed to be undertaken in four phases: construction of a reservoir, generation of power, installation of a water and sewerage system and building an irrigation system.
The government recently signed a deal with China Gezhouba Group to begin working on the Thwake dam in a ceremony witnessed by leaders from Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties.
Last Friday, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa, met the leaders and families that will be displaced to inform them that construction will begin next month [January].
“We want to come here in January with the President and his deputy to do the official ground breaking,” Mawalwa said.
He defended the prioritisation of the electricity generation, saying “Some of the power will be needed to pump water to higher levels for subsequent distribution.”
He added: “A portion of the power will be required to run Konza Technocity and the rest will be injected into the national grid.”
Thwake dam development
The dam will sit on the confluence of Thwake and Athi rivers and is touted as the greatest water reservoir in the country.
“The two projects are interconnected. Once Thwake dam is completed, Konza Technocity project will take off,” the minister said.
Daily Nation noted that, though governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) praised the government for the project, they insisted that it would be of little significance to the region if implemented as planned.
“The four phases should happen concurrently. Our people should not wait for decades to get its fruits,” said Dr Mutua.
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