Integrated Food Security Programme

1. Kieni Integrated Irrigation Project (Karemenu and Naromoru)

In its quest to meet the national food policy and alleviate poverty in the Kieni area, the Government of Kenya (GoK) prioritized development of the Kieni Irrigation Project as one of the flagship projects of the Vision 2030 for food security and appointed TARDA as the Implementing Agency of the project. The project will be realized through damming the rivers that transverse the project area and which emanate from the major water towers of the Aberdare Ranges and Mt. Kenya.

The feasibility studies have already been carried out and identified seven (7) dams namely Chania, Tinga, Naromoru, Kamburaini, Waiwa, NgareNgiro and Karemenu to be constructed. The seven can harness a total of approx. 120million cubic metres to command a feasible irrigable area of 5,200Ha and serve 52,000 households.

Further detailed studies were undertaken on two (2) of the dams i.e. Karimenu and Naromoru dams and detailed designs for both dams completed. The Karemenu Dam is projected to have a water storage capacity of 3million cubic metres sand irrigation command of 1,000Ha while the Naromoru Dam storage capacity is 6.4 million cubic metres and irrigation command of 1,300Ha.

a) Karemenu Dam and Irrigation Infrastructure

One of the viable projects identified in Kieni West Sub-county is Karemenu Dam and Irrigation Development Project. The project is aimed at constructing a dam and irrigation infrastructure capable of irrigating approximately 1,000Ha within Mugunda Location, Kieni West Sub-county in Nyeri County.

The dam site is located some 60km to the North West of Nyeri Town on Karemenu River which originates from the Aberdare Ranges at grid reference Easting 246109, Northing 9981564. The project is designed such that water will be conveyed to all potential farmers by gravity pipes from the dam.

The project will cover a gross area of 1,430Ha within Mugunda Location in Nyeri County. It is estimated that 384 households will benefit directly from the project. Based on available water and the prevailing topography, the project area has been defined to cover the four sub locations of Mugunda location namely; Kamiruri, Nairutia, Karemenu and Ruirii.

The estimated cost of the project is US$70.44 million

b) NaruMoru Irrigation Project

The NaruMoru Irrigation project is located in Kieni East district and will benefit an estimated 13,000 households in Narumoru, Kamburaini and Kiamathage locations. The irrigation project will cover an estimated net irrigation area of 1300Ha. Narumoru dam has been identified as the water source for the proposed irrigation project. The Dam will be located on Narumoru South River.

The project area covers eight (8) community self-help irrigation projects namely: Kigama, Kabendera, Kabunda, Kihoto, Kirika, Gitwe, NaroMoru and Aguthi/Ndiriti. These projects were developed between 1974 and 1999 mainly through self-help initiatives of the local communities, Government and donor funding. Originally Kihoto, Kirika, and Gitwe had a single source and the single project was referred to as Kamburaini Irrigation Water Project. Kigama, Kabendera and Kabunda were also originally developed as a single domestic water project referred to as Mwicuiri Water Project while Ndiriti/Aguthi and Narumoru were referred to as Aguthi Water Project by upgrading the Aguthi Ranch water furrow to a piped system.

To meet the irrigation demand of the proposed 1,300Ha, it is proposed that a dam with a net storage of 7.5MCM be constructed at the proposed site. The dam will regulate the flow to meet the annual irrigation demand of the proposed project. A dam with net storage height of 85m is proposed at the dam site. The dam will impound a reservoir covering 23Ha. The proposed Narumoru dam is 85m high earth embankment with net storage height of 80m. The estimated reservoir volume is 6.4Mm3

The project will come along with many benefits which include: Employment opportunities, gains in the local and national economy, increased efficiency in services provided to the people, storage of storm water which could otherwise go to waste, attainment of efficient and sufficient irrigation system independent of seasonal water fluctuation, optimal use of land, increased food security, increased emergence of social amenities and services in the area, use of best technologies that will ensure environmental and social sustainability in the project area such as reduced need for forest based economic activities such as charcoal burning and use of firewood for fuel.

The estimated cost of the project is US$ 174.93 million

2. Lower Murang’a Integrated Irrigation Project

The proposed Lower Murang’a project area is located in Murangá County about 80-100 km North of Nairobi. Murangá County is located between Kiambu County to the South, Nyeri County to the North, Nyandarua County to the West and Kirinyaga County to the East. Murangá is endowed with hills, forests, rivers and valleys. The Project targets the relatively drier parts of Murang’a County. The lower Murang’a is generally defined as the area below the Kenol-Murang’a-Sagana- Road. The proposed project targets three Sub-Counties namely; Kiharu, Maragua and Gatanga.

The objective of the assignment is to conduct feasibility study for the development of a 5,000Ha irrigation scheme in the Lower Murang’a and Mini-hydro power generation. The development of irrigation infrastructure in the Project area would make it possible for the local communities to draw economic benefits from the water resources of the Maragua River, Thika, Sagana River and their tributaries, and rehabilitated dams within the project area. The targeted irrigation development would be located in the Makuyu, Kakuzi, Ithanga, Mirira, Kambiti and Kamahuha areas. Development options place emphasis on efficient and economically viable water supply, distribution and application technologies over the long term. In addition, the development approach and options are structured and packaged in a manner that ensure that farmer management of the project is realized within the shortest time possible.

Main economic activities: The major Economic activities in the area is crop and livestock farming which involves grains/cereals and horticulture.

The project is expected to benefit about 8,153 members in the drier lower Murang’a areas of Mirira, Maragua ridge, Kambiti, Kamahuha and Ithanga/Kakuzi with an potential net area of 8,000Ha. The beneficiaries are small scale farmers carrying out mixed farming.

Water resources: The targeted water sources for the project area are Sagana /Tana River, Maragua River, Thika River, Sabasaba River and Kayahwe River. It is envisaged that the water will be abstracted and delivered to the project area by gravity system. 

Land resources: Suitable areas have been delineated for irrigated agriculture taking into consideration the suitability of the soils, topography and the water source.

The study enabled delineation of a gross project area of 10,775Ha out of which approximately 2,820Ha is occupied by infrastructure, homesteads, steep slopes and rock outcrop the remainder is the potential net area for irrigated agriculture. The potential net area is 7,955Ha.

Project cost and evaluation

The estimated project cost for all the clusters in the Lower Murang’a irrigation development project is Kshs.10 billion including the cost of dam construction. Based on the economic and financial consideration assumed in the analysis, investment in the Lower Murang’a area is worthwhile. This is so because the area gives positive NPVs and generates internal returns at a rate (IRR) higher than the considered cost of capital of 10%.

Skip to content