TARDA differs with Senator over construction of multi-billion dam

The Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) has differed with Tharaka Nithi Senator, Kithure Kindiki over construction of the Sh.150 billion High Grand Falls Dam at Kibuka waterfalls, expected to irrigate thousands of hectares and produce about 730 megawatts upon completion.

The Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Githaiga has dismissed as mere propaganda, statement attributed to the senator, while at a church in Tharaka on Sunday, insinuating that the government had resolved to stop construction of the dam in order to minimize on the number of residents to be relocated.

Instead, Githaiga said government had no intention to reduce size of the proposed 165 square kilometre dam, adding that only a cost validation of the project was being carried out to ensure that it was economically viable.

The government is working on how to reduce the cost of the project and not its size for economic viability reasons, he said, noting that redesigning to a pumped hydroelectric scheme was also ongoing.

Speaking on Sunday, Prof. Kindiki said in consultations with the government, they had resolved to stop the project until its size was reduced, because a lot of people from Tharaka constituency would be affected if the current plan is to be used.

The senator asked locals to continue establishing their businesses without fear and maintained that he will ensure that no work starts.

Work on the project is expected to resume soon after a University of Nairobi engineering department submits a report on the few changes to the authority.

Githaiga said the affected, including those from the neighbouring Embu and Kitui counties will receive monetary compensation, relocation or both.

The construction of the dam is expected to take six years, affecting at least 4,500 households in the three counties.

Source: Kenya News Agency