, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has signed a Sh10 billion contract forconstruction of the Lower Nzoia irrigation project and rehabilitation of Nzoia flood control dykes in Busia County.
The Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa, who signed the contract at Maji House on Wednesday, said that the project will increase the acreage of the area under irrigation.
“This project will permanently mitigate against damage from floods repeatedly caused by flooding of Nzoia River,” said Wamalwa.
The CS said that the costs of compensating and resettlement of all affected persons amounting to Sh1.2 will be done before work commences in February 2018.
The signing of the contract was witnessed by leaders from Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga counties.
Led by the Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, leaders from the Western region lauded the project saying it will transform the lives of their people.
“This is a dream come true after years of suffering. As leaders from the Western region we will wholeheartedly support this project until it’s completed,” said Lusaka.
Present was Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, former Budalangi Member of Parliament Ababu Namwamba, Nairobi County Speaker Beatrice Elachi, Budalangi Member of Parliament Raphael Wanjala and the Mumias East Member of Parliament Benjamin Washiali who is also the Majority Chief Whip among other leaders from Western Kenya.
The leaders asked the contractor to use local materials in the counties as well as employ the people in that region where the construction is taking place.
The Lower Nzoia project phase 1 will benefit 20,000 people including those in the Bunyala Irrigation project.
An additional 8,000 people will farm the scheme as hired labour in Busia and Siaya counties.
Another estimated 50,000 people in the neighbouring areas are expected to benefit indirectly through linkages to scheme activities and out puts.
The Nzoia River Dykes project will include repair and improvement of existing dykes and construction of new dykes all totalling 34km, culverts and drains to provide enhanced flood protection to the communities of the Lower Nzoia River in Busia and Siaya Counties.
The project will also triple water supply in the region.
Other projects that are expected to be launched in the Western region include the Upper Nzoia Irrigation which is estimated to cost Sh10 billion, Bungoma-Kakamega project estimated at Sh24 billion and the Greater Mt Elgon Region at Sh50 billion.
The project was awarded to Chinese state-owned Sino Hydro Corporation Limited.
A similar contract was signed last week for the construction of Thwake Dam which is set to benefit 1.3 million people in Ukambani region.
According to Wamalwa, Over 60 dams are under construction across the counties which are aimed at improving water services in the country to 80 per cent by the year 2020.
According to the contractor, the project will be completed in three years.