The NCT Project Is A ‘Tunnel Of Life’, CS Wamalwa Reassures Kenyans, Murang’a Residents.

Athi Water Service Board Chief Executive Officer Malaquen Milgo (in glasses)takes the CS Environment Judi Wakhungu (centre) and CS Water Eugene Wamalwa through the details of the NCT Project.
Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Water and Irrigation Ministry Eugene Ludovic Wamalwa has once again dispelled the controversy that have marred the Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel project saying that fears that the tunnel may deplete water from rivers Irati, Gikigie and Maragua were unfounded.

Speaking at the construction site in Murang’a County during a fact finding mission, the CS said that the project, along with others across the country to help end the perennial water shortage in the country.

“The Northern Water Collector Tunnel is a Vision 2030 project that was planned years ago where a lot of research has been done to justify its viability. The same has been done for Itare Dam in Nakuru County, Mwache Dam in Kwale County, Siyoi Dam in West Pokot and Loak Dam in Turkana to address the water problem in a long term basis,” said Wamalwa.

The CS explained that these water diversion structures will only divert flood water into the tunnel and that downstream demand will not be impacted by the project. He said that the project that is funded by the World Bank would increase water supply to Nairobi having capacity to deliver to Nairobi 140 million litres of water per day.

He added that the project was now 20% complete and was expected to be complete by June 2018.

“We expect to have this channel in place by June next year so that we recharge Ndakaini Dam. When the rains come, we expect to harvest the floods into the tunnel from where this raw water will be channeled in to Ndakaini Dam. From there from Ndakaini, we are putting up a treatment plant at Kigoro that will take additional 140 million litres of treated water into the system,” said Wamalwa.

He said that at completion, the current water shortage in Nairobi would be a thing of the past.

The three-diameter tunnel is being dug high up in Aberdare range to connect all the seven rivers to Thika's Ndakaini dam with the intention of improving water services in Nairobi, Kiambu and Murang'a counties. The Thika-Kigoro pipeline will be for raw water as the Kigoro-Ngethu pipeline transports treated water.
The CS said that, as a government, they were also putting up Ksh. 4 billion worth of projects in Ithanga and Gatanga to ensure that the residents of Murang’a also enjoyed clean and safe water.

“As we take more than 140 million litres of clean water to Nairobi through the (sh.) 4 billion project that we are doing locally, we will have almost 39 million litres of water coming to the people of Murang’a County,” he said.

Athi Water Service Board Chief Executive Officer Malaquen Milgo said that the first phase of the project was expected to be complete by February next year where some additional water will be channeled into the dam.

He added that his board, in conjunction with the Kenya Forest Services, had put in place an environmental plan to ensure that adequate protection measures were inserted into the design of the weirs to allow for the safe passage of fish, replanting and nurturing of saplings.

Nairobi generates approximately 60% GDP. It experiences chronic water shortage including its surrounding area. According to the masterplan, 1.2 billion litres of water will be required daily by 2035 and 670 million litres 2017. Currently, Nairobi gets 580,000 cubic metres daily against a demand of 750,000 cubic metres a day, leaving deficit of about 200,000.

It is for this reason that the government of Kenya in 1998 prioritised improvement of water services in the city and its environs. The Northern Water Collector Tunnel Phase 1 project was supposed to have be completed by the year 2010 but due to funding challenges the project was not implemented as planned.

In the year 2012, Athi Water Services Board through Egis/MIBP JV carried out the Feasibility Study and Master Plan for Developing New Water Sources for Nairobi and Satellite Towns. This study validated the 1998 report and further recommended implementation of the Northern Collector Tunnel project.
CSs Wamalwa and Wakhungu tour the tunnel to ascertain the progress of the NCT Project.

Additional hydrological reviews for the project were undertaken by M/s GIBB Africa as part of the ESIA Study process further validating the hydrological and ecological viability of the project.

The NCT 1 project is located along the eastern fringes of the Aberdare Conservation Area approximately 60 km North of Nairobi City. The works are located in Kangema and Kigumo Sub-Counties of Muranga County.

The project involves the construction of river intake structures at Maragua, Gikie and Irati rivers, the construction of access adits at Gikigie, Irati and Kaanja, construction of 11km long, 3.0 diameter main water tunnel from Maragua intake to Githika outfall. The tunnel will be fully concrete lined. A valuation roll completed in December 2015 indicate that 221 people currently live on top of the tunnel.

(Additional details about the project can be obtained via

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