Kwale to get Sh17bn second water desalination project

Kwale water

A woman and her child walk home after fetching water in Mavirivirini Asili area of Mwavumbo ward in Kwale County on November 24, 2021.  The county will get Sh17bn second water desalination project

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Kwale County government has sought an international company to construct a Sh17 billion desalination plant to address perennial water shortages.

 The county has identified two investors from Spain and Saudi Arabia to undertake the desalination project.

 Governor Salim Mvurya said his administration has held discussions with officials from the Spanish company, ACCIONA AQUA and SWICORP from Saudi Arabia to desalinate seawater.

The investors have identified a suitable location for the project in Munje area Msambweni Sub County. The water desalination project is to be done for Sh17 billion. It is expected to produce 150,000 m3 of water daily.

Currently, the investors are in the process of acquiring the required 35-50 acre land parcel to set up the plant.

Governor Mvurya assured the investors that the county government will cooperate with them to make sure the project benefits the people.

10 acres of land

“But you must ensure that your tariffs are low and reasonable to the people once the project is complete,” he said.

In Mombasa, the county has acquired more than 10 acres of land for the construction of Kenya’s first desalination plant.

Two years ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta approved the Sh16 billion project but bureaucracy at the national government has delayed approval of the construction of the plant.

Recently, former Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Ms Sicily Kariuki assured Kenyans that Governor Hassan Joho’s desalination project is still on course.

Ms Kariuki explained that the water desalination project is currently with the National Treasury to be able to assess its feasibility, economic viability and sustainability.

In an interview with Nation.Africa, the CS explained that once the National Treasury conducts its assessments from both engineering, technical and economic impact, they will advise her ministry on how to progress the project.

“These are among others privately initiated proposals at the National Treasury through the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation,” noted the CS.

President Kenyatta approved the acquisition of more than 10 acres at the Shimo La Tewa Secondary School for the desalination plant. It will be Kenya’s first public desalination plant. It will have a capacity to produce potable quality water of 100 million litres per day, according to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

Water shortage

 Coast counties including Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale have been grappling with water shortage which has been attributed to inadequate supply from freshwater sources, direct theft of non-revenue water and illegal connections forcing the company to ration the commodity.

Mombasa, a tourism hub, gets an accumulated average of 30,000 cubic meters against a demand of 200,000 cubic meters from the three counties according to statistics from the county government.

Mombasa’s large-scale facility is set to be the region’s first public desalination plant and will be constructed by two international companies, Almar Water Solutions of Spain, and Switzerland’s Aqua Swiss.

Aqua Swiss has been awarded a contract to build a smaller desalination plant in Likoni that can purify 30,000 cubic metres per day while Almar Water Solutions will put up the desalination plant in the north of the mainland.

The project is set to end perennial water shortage at the Coast especially Mombasa, Kenya’s tourism hub that lacks its freshwater source. The county depends on water from the three neighbouring counties, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta.

In a past interview, Governor Hassan Joho said the plant will supply fresh water to more than 1 million people in the county.