Experts call for inclusiveness in managing water resources

Environment minister Biruta (centre) at one the stands at the opening of the two-day Integrated Water Resources Management Conference in Kigali yesterday. Courtesy.

Restoring and maintaining integrated water resources require everyone’s participation.

Experts made the call Friday during a two-day Integrated Water Resources Management Conference in Kigali.

The Minister for Environment, Dr Vincent Biruta commended partners for their contribution to advancing the environment sector in the country, especially in support for water resources management and landscape restoration.

“Availability of water is critical for us to build a prosperous country. We cannot move forward as a society while some people are living without access to safe and sufficient water,” he said

The end of the conference took place on the day the country was celebrating World Water Day with a focus of ‘Leaving no one behind’.

“Rwanda should be proud of the progress being made to improve access to water, and we must remain focused to ensure we reach everyone,” he said.

“Doing so requires us to protect water resources, control pollution, and mitigate flooding. It is also important that people from all walks of life, especially young people and women, are part of these efforts, not simply beneficiaries,” the minister added.

The conference ended with experts calling for a need to include all stakeholders with focus on women, the private sector as well as the civil society organisations.

It brought together participants from government and non-governmental organisations, academicians, and private sector and development partners among others.

Integrated water resources management is defined as a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources

Arlette Iyakaremye Nyinawinkindi, Water for Growth Consultant from SNV said there was need for community and gender engagement to plan for catchment restoration approach as a key to proper water management.

“This brings a solution to address poverty, to address livelihood issues to all categories of people including men, women and vulnerable youth,” she said.

“The main water-related issues is access to water. In some parts of our country, women are attributed the role of supplying water for domestic and farm uses. So it is imperative to include them, know their challenges and contribute in formulating solutions”.

According to Rob Neiuwenhuis, Water Management Specialist and Deputy Team leader at Water for Growth, there was need for the private sector to venture into financing water resources management.

“We have discussed the role of private sector in advancing water efficiency development while investing in what benefits themselves but also for the environment and the community,” he said

He mentioned the need for co-financing where the private sector was encouraged  to invest in the area to reduce environmental pollution and help to restore the catchment areas.