Work on the proposed and long-awaited Sh16 billion Mwache Multipurpose Dam project in Kwale County is set to begin later this year.
The officer in charge of the Project Management Unit in the Water Ministry Mr. Simon Mwangi said tenders for the mega project will be advertised in June and bids received in August this year.
Funded by the World Bank, the dam which will be built on Mwache River in Kinango Sub-County is expected to radically tackle the persistent water crisis at the Coast.
It is expected to supply water to an estimated 1.2million rural and urban households.
Other key beneficiaries will be hotels and tourist resorts, industries, the Kenya Ports Authority, railways stations, and Moi International Airport among other institutions.
According to a government report, the dam is among the Vision 2030 flagship projects aimed at addressing water shortage in Kwale and Mombasa Counties.
Once complete it will produce 186,000 cubic metres of water a day, which will be adequate for domestic and irrigation purposes.
The project involves the construction of a 77-metre high dam with a reservoir capacity of 133million cubic metres.
Locals are expecting huge benefits from the biggest multi-purpose dam as it will have water reservoir storage of 8.63 million cubic meters in coast.
Mr. Mwangi and his Kenya Water Security and Climate Resilience colleagues Mr. Lazarus Kubasu and Mr. Samuel Mbachia said all the final designs and tender documents will be ready on February 23 this year.
The three spoke during a courtesy call on County Governor Mr. Salim Mvurya, in his office in Kwale town.
Though he welcomed the project saying it will help address water deficit in the region, Mr. Mvurya said its implementation was long overdue.
“This project has been a subject of discussion for a long time and we are glad time for its implementation has finally come. It will transform the lives of many people and bring development to the region,” he said.
Mr. Mvurya said the local community must be adequately involved in the implementation process to ensure it runs smoothly.
He added that the people to be affected directly by the project must be given first priority by being awarded deserving compensation.
Locations to be affected include Kasemeni, Mwavumbo and Mtaa where at least 24 villages fall under the project area.
The government will spend Sh1.4 billion on compensation of about 3,600 villagers.
The exercise is expected to end by June this year to enable the contractor move on site.
There will be compensation for land, crops, trees, graves, structures, community infrastructure, and shrines (Kayas).
Mr. Kubasu said lack of title deeds among the residents could slow down the compensation process and asked the government to intervene to hasten the exercise.
According to Mwangi, the construction work on the dam will be done in phases over a period of 42 months and is thus expected to be completed by 2022.
Apart from providing water for domestic use, the dam will also have an irrigation and power generation components.