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 areas 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%.