Minister Biruta outlines plan to end flooding in Nyabugogo

A man is carried across a flooded Nyabugogo highway in April 2012. The Ministry of Environment has outlined a plan to end flooding in the area. File.

Engineering activities to avert flooding that has been affecting business in Nyabugo area are set to start in June, the Minister for Environment has said.

Dr Vincent Biruta told The New Times that the lack of protection from run-off water from surrounding hills and houses, coupled with the Nyabugogo bridge’s limited capacity to handle the flowing water in drainages, continue to cause flooding. It disrupts business in the area during the rainy season.

“Nyabugo area is prone to flooding. The run-off water flooded Mpazi water channel towards Nyabugogo Bus Park. We have planned activities to build two wide and high bridges so that water from Mpazi water drain can easily pass through without overflowing the bridge into the roads and business,” he said.

According to a 2016 study, Kigali is characterised by a high proportion of impermeable surfaces, which are the basis of a high concentration of rainwater and, consequently, an intense runoff and flooding.

The study is entitled: Physical factors causing runoff and flooding in the City of Kigali.

Flooding accounts for an estimated loss of Rwf178.2 million annually in direct and indirect damage to businesses surrounding Nyabugogo, Gatsata and other water catchment areas in Kigali, the study states. 

This, the study adds, calls for an internal organisation in the neighbourhood to maintain drainage channels, manage sewage, or assist in evacuation during times of flooding.

Among other solutions that were proposed include rainwater harvesting in addition to properly designed road pavement to allow the water to flow through drainage channels.

“We are also going to construct a big pond (reservoir) on upper catchment of Mpazi drain so it catches and retains water from Mount Kigali, the Nyamirambo area and other areas around Mpazi River before systematically being allowed to slowly flow towards Nyabugogo area without causing flooding,” Biruta said.

The minister also observed that many households in the area do not harvest rainwater while the lack of trees and sufficient drainage escalate flooding.

All the planned activities are set to start in June this year, the minister said.

Sustained flooding in the area has prompted the Fund for the Environment and Climate Change (FONERWA) to invest Rwf2.5 billion to implement a flood water management project in the Nyabugogo catchment.

Marie Chantal Rwakazina, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, told The New Times that; “What we are looking at is the root causes of such flooding although expansion of bridges is a good intervention.”

Kigali city spends at least Rwf1.5 billion every year on controlling flooding, mainly through constructing water drainages.