Tarda mulls setting up hydropower dam in Tana Delta
A University of Nairobi think tank is evaluating a proposal to build a dam in the Tana Delta for reverse-pumping of water for power generation.
The university’s Civil Engineering Department-based team will scrutinise the cost and value of the planned multi-purpose dam.
The dam will reduce flooding in the expansive Tana Delta while unlocking 112,000 hectares of land for irrigation.
The Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (Tarda) requested the review.
Tarda proposes using the build own and transfer model, giving the project implementer a 15 to 25-year timeframe to recoup investment.
Tarda’s managing director Steven Ruimuku has vouched for the dam saying it will increase hydro-electricity production.
According to the latest Economic Survey, hydro-power generation accounted for 2,776.8GWh compared to 2013 peak production of 4,386GWh.
Mr Ruimuku said that Kenya’s hydro-power dams had capacity to produce 5,300GWh but risked losing generation capacity if Upper Tana communities continue to deplete forests.
“Flooding downstream should not be blamed on the dams along Tana and Athi rivers since 40 per cent of water flowing into the Tana Delta comes from seven rivers that are not yet tapped.
“The dam will accommodate the seven namely Thura, Ena, Thuchi, Mara, Mutonga, Thingithu and Kathita,” he said.
Mr Ruimuku, who spoke after touring Kiambere and Masinga dams managed by Tarda, said failure to conserve forests and management of farm practices in the Upper Tana water catchment area was also to blame for floods.