London-based firm, GBM Engineering Consortium has been granted permission to commence the construction of Africa’s second largest fresh water dam in Kenya.
This follows a procurement dispute pitching the firm against National Irrigation Board, after five Chinese firms lost the lucrative contract. The dispute which emerged in May was resolved after Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor and Public Procurement Review Board (PPRB) upheld an earlier ruling that GBM Consortium be allowed to undertake the multibillion project.
“The benefit of this project to the region is enormous. Because first, it is going to form a large man-made lake, where it will be easy introducing fishing and tourism activities to the communities around it,” said Prof Fred Segor.
The construction of The High Grand Falls Dam is estimated to cost US $2bn being one of the largest undertaking by the Kenyan government after the Standard Gauge Railway project, and is expected to take six years to complete. The dam conceptualization was part of an ambitious effort by the government of Kenya to build water reservoirs across the country in an attempt to revolutionize irrigation-based farming.
The High Grand Falls Dam will hold more than 5.6 billion cubic metres of water and is set to produce 700MW of hydropower that will facilitate irrigation in over 250,000ha of land in Garissa, Tana River and Kitui counties. The dam will also address the perennial flooding at Kenya’s Coast region while also serving 1.5 million people living downstream. It will hold more than 5.6 billion cubic metres of water.
The dam is part of the Sh1.5 trillion Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset) projects and will be built downstream the Seven Folks dams along River Tana.
“This will be the largest water storage facility in the country with a holding capacity of 5.6 billion cubic metres,” says Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.
According to Government records, the first Phase is expected to be up and running by 2031 and will produce 495MW, with the second phase coming in a year later with a capacity of 198MW – bringing the total capacity to 693MW.
According to the agreement, the contractor will fund, build and operate the dam for a period 20 years before handing it over to the government of Kenya.
The High Grand Falls Dam will be Africa’s second largest dam after the 5,250-square kilometre Aswan High Dam in Egypt on River Nile.