The construction of Sh63 billion multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County has begun following an agreement between a government agency and the local community over land compensation. Seventeen engineers from Europe have in the last two weeks been laying the ground for construction of the hydro-electric and irrigation projects.
“The designers and planners are already on the ground and the construction is expected to take a shorter time than anticipated,” said Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) MD David Kimosop. He said a down payment of €41 million (Sh4.9 billion) has been made for the design of Arror dam. “Construction is expected to begin in the next six to eight months after the detailed design plan is carried out,” said Kimosop.
He said engineers are carrying out mapping and evaluation, which will facilitate piping for the hydroelectricity and irrigation project. “We are in the process of acquiring land for the families to be displaced to pave way for the construction of the projects after we settled on amicable agreement,” said Kimosop.
400 hectares of forest land for the two projects will be acquired from the Kenya Forest Service in exchange for 570 hectares recovered from private land owned by locals, who will be displaced and compensated. Arror dam will cost Sh38.5 billion, while the other in Kimwarer will cost Sh28 billion. The two dams to be constructed in rivers Arror and Kimwarer in Marakwet West and Keiyo South respectively will displace more than 800 families.
They are expected to irrigate over 20,000 acres of land. Kimosop said the two projects are key to unlocking the huge potential of Kerio Valley, which has experienced insecurity for decades.