The City of Kigali has launched 22 hydrological and weather stations that will help monitor levels of floods in the capital. ALSO READ: Rwanda set to roll out ‘flood sensors’ to mitigate disasters The infrastructure, launched on October 31, 2023, while celebrating World Cities Day, will enable to have on-time and accurately distributed data to properly understand the drivers of Kigali’s flood risk and plan accordingly. Mérard Mpabwanamaguru, City of Kigali Vice-Mayor in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure, said that the stations align with the City of Kigali's journey to build a resilient city. “The installed stations will enable the collection of essential data for the stormwater management master plan and wetland rehabilitation,” he said. ALSO READ: Kigali to get stormwater master plan in two years Kigali ‘Stormwater Management Master Plan’ is expected to be complete by 2024 so as to manage floods in the city. The rehabilitation of five degraded wetlands in Kigali City could, directly and indirectly, benefit 220,500 people who are at risk of flooding and water crises. In the past 30 years, Kigali has experienced rapid urbanisation, significant changes in land use, and a reduction of vegetation cover. ALSO READ: Kigali’s wetlands repair to save 220,000 people prone to flood risks The increase in the built-up area has resulted in an increase of resistant surfaces, thus increasing surface water runoff, erosion, sedimentation, and other solid wastes being deposited in flood storage areas. Both natural and constructed drainage channels along floodplains and low-lying areas are regularly overtopped, causing flooding problems in the neighbourhood. Floods in Kigali cause damage to people’s homes and industrial properties, disrupt traffic flow and economic activity in the city, and increase water pollution through the spreading of contaminated water and garbage during rainfall. Many urban poor populations tend to reside in low-lying flood-prone areas such as floodplains and reclaimed wetlands, increasing their vulnerability to flooding of land and its consequences. Financed by the World Bank through the Second Rwanda Urban Development Project (RUDP II), the City of Kigali has invested in hydro-meteorological monitoring equipment to support Rwanda Water Resources Board and Rwanda Meteorology Agency studies to have accurately distributed data to properly understand Kigali’s flood risk, and plan accordingly. All data will be collected automatically at centres through automated sensors and transmission systems. Comprehensive statistics shall be automatically calculated and analysed, and detailed weather conditions shall be viewed at any distance in real-time from the station itself. The 15 hydrological stations are installed in Gisozi, Kibagabaga, Kinamba, Kinamba, Mpazi, Mulindi, Mulindi-Ndera road, Rufigiza River, Karuruma, Rugenge-Rwintare River, Rugunga, Rwandex upper Gikondo, Kibumba wetland, Gikondo wetland, and Nyabugogo wetland while the seven Automated Weather Stations (AWS) are installed at Nyarugenge Hospital, EP Gatenga, Rusororo, Rubungo, Kinyinya Sector office, Nduba, and Jali. City officials have urged researchers, academic institutions, consultants, investors, and all infrastructure planning institutions to take advantage of these stations and use real data for evidence-based planning in order to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. “Having information about climate change helps in planning. It also guides city planners and designers to have resilient infrastructure,” Mpabwanamaguru said. Musoni Didace-Division Manager of Data Observation, Quality Control and Processing Division at METEO RWANDA, said there are also stations to measure the speed of wind and temperature. “This will guide developers in the construction sector and early warning system,” he said.