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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved two loans worth US$267 million to complete the construction of the Thwake Dam on the Thwake River in southern Kenya

2815584560 ac26880b83 zThwake Multi-Purpose Development Programme (TMWDP) aims to provide drinking water, hydroelectric energy and irrigation. (Image source: Neil Cummings/Flickr)

The package, which was requested by Kenyan authorities, comprises two loans-US$218mn from the Bank and US$49mn from Africa Growing Together Fund (AGFT).

This is a strategic water supply project for the large semi-arid area of Makueni county and surrounding regions, including the new technology city of Konza. The loans were approved on 14 November 2018.

This additional support follows a US$86mn loan granted by the Bank in 2013 to start building the dam as part of the Thwake Multi-Purpose Development Programme (TMWDP), which aims to provide drinking water, hydroelectric energy and irrigation.

Completion of the 80.5 m high multi-purpose dam will enable the storage of 681 mn m3 of water, of which 625 mn m3 will be used for electricity production and downstream irrigation of agricultural land; 22 mn m3 for upstream irrigation and 34 mn for human use. Construction in the initial phase of the TMWDP project should be completed in December 2022.

This will be followed by three further phases: The construction of hydraulic plants to treat up to 34,600 m3 of water for household use for 674,700 rural inhabitants and up to 117,200 m3 for 640,000 residents in the technology city of Konza, hydroelectric energy production and 40,000 ha of irrigation.

The Bank's US$3.6bn Kenya portfolio comprises 33 operations. Water and sanitation operations account for about 22 per cent of the portfolio's value for the public sector.