Kenya weighs $2.4bn of dams to boost water availability

28th March 2023 By: Bloomberg

Kenya plans to seek investors to help build seven dams at a cost of $2.4-billion, according the National Treasury’s Public Private Partnerships Directorate.

The government plans to sign water-purchase agreements with investors who will finance, design, build and commission the facilities, according to the directorate’s website. The mechanism will enable investors to sell and deliver water needed for household and irrigation use, it said.

The biggest planned water project is the so-called High Grand Falls dam on the Tana river, in eastern Kenya with a capacity of 5.6-trillion litres that is expected to cost $1.3-billion, according to the PPP report.

Kenya is suffering its worst drought in more than four decades, and has diverted billions of shillings to help millions of people in need of food aid. President William Ruto, who came to office in September, has pledged to develop at least 100 dams to improve water security and boost agricultural productivity.

Several amendments are planned to the East African nation’s Water Act to provide a framework for the government to buy water in bulk from investors for resale to public water companies that supply homes and farms that irrigate fields, it said.

Demand risk and hydrology will be borne by the government and the water plants will be transferred to the state at the end of the concession period.

Kenya plans to put 375 864 ha under irrigation and connect 4.25-million new households to clean piped water, according to the report, which didn’t provide a timeline.