President Ruto to commission release of water from Thiba dam to rice farms
President William Ruto has arrived in Kirinyaga where he will officially commission the release of water from the newly constructed Thiba Dam to rice farms in Kirinyaga county.
Ruto is accompanied by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, governor Anne Waiguru and a host of other leaders.
The purpose of releasing water from the reservoir into the Thiba river is to guarantee a constant supply of water throughout the year for the Mwea rice irrigation plan.
The National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has been testing the release of water from the dam after it filled up since the beginning of September.
Beginning in late May and lasting until the end of August of this year, the dam was filled to its intended capacity of 15.6 million cubic metres.
The reservoir is 40 metres high and 1.1 kilometres long, and it cost roughly Sh 7.8 billion to construct.
The project is anticipated to save the 30,060 acres of the Mwea irrigation network and flood an additional 10,000 acres for the cultivation of rice.
According to Innocent Ariemba, manager of the NIA Mwea Irrigation Scheme, a greater water supply will also allow farmers to conduct double cropping, which will result in 40,060 acres being irrigated each season. A total of 80,120 acres of rice will be grown as a result each year.
He said that the Mwea irrigation scheme currently produces 114,000 metric tonnes of rice annually.
“The current production will rise to about 180,000 metric tonnes of rice annually,” Ariemba said.
With increased acreage under irrigation, rice revenue is projected to rise from the current KSh. 9 billion annually to between Ksh.14 billion to Ksh16 billion annually.
The water is supporting the Rukenya and Kibithe irrigation schemes to undertake horticulture irrigation.