BY MAZERA NDURYA
The people of Mwakalanga in Mwereni Ward have every reason to smile after the Kwale County Government commissioned a 6.5 million litre flagship dam to address the perennial water problem.
Governor Salim Mvurya, speaking during a tour of the area to inspect the ongoing construction works on Saturday (April 20, 2019), said he was happy with the dam’s progress.
“I am pleased that the contractor is going on with the work and citizens also expressed their gratitude for this mega project. The first phase which is ongoing costs Sh113 million and we’re doing other similar dams at Dziweni in Ndavaya, Kizingo in Makamini and Silaloni. Chanzou dam in Samburu which we did with EU is already operational,” he said.
Mr Mvurya said that in all the facilities there will be components of water treatment and pipelines to villages. The County Government will also undertake irrigation as part of the economic activity for the people.
In his latest Audit Report (February 18, 2019) on the county, the auditor-general Edward Ouko queries Sh36,162, 130 paid to a local contractor for the construction of the commissioned dam (Mwakalanga).
According to him during their physical verification of the project on November 19, 2018 disclosed that excavation work had just started whereas the supervising engineer’s report had indicated that the excavation was complete.
“Under the circumstances, it has not been possible to confirm the propriety of Sh36,162,130 spent on construction of Mwakalanga Dam for the year ended June 30, 2018,” he says.
However, Mwereni Ward MCA Menza Beja said the construction work was within the stipulated period while dismissing the Auditor’s report claiming it had lagged behind.
The site engineer, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the dam which will provide water to five villages will be completed ahead in time before the onset of the long rains.
Those villages, with a population of over 2,400 residents, expected to benefit from the Mwakalanga dam water supply are Mwakalanga, Kalalani, Naseria, Mwanya wa Bugu and Magogoni.
Due to the ongoing drought at the coast region, the ward (Mwereni) is experiencing water crisis after all the 12 seasonal rivers and mitsara (small water pans) that serves more than 3,000 families in the five remote villages bordering Tanzania have dried up.
In unprecedented move recently, the Kwale County Assembly suspended the construction of the Sh14.8 billion Mwache dam just a month after it was commission.
This suspension was done on the grounds it did not benefit the county government and the local residents.
Construction of the dam project is expected to supply water to Kwale and Mombasa counties if it becomes operational.
It will be expected to pump at least 196,000 litres of water daily. The dam is expected to take four years to complete and require 1,600 acres of land, displacing more than 4,000 families.
During his recent visit to the County, the Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui warned local leaders from inciting residents over compensation for the construction of Mwache Dam.
Then accompanied by National Land Commission Vice chairperson Abigail Mbagaya, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, MP Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and a host of MCAs, Mr Chelugui toured the Mwache Dam Multi-Purpose project site before holding a consultative meeting with stakeholders and residents of Mwache and Fulugani villages.