At least 80 stakeholders from various institutions of the four water catchments of Muvumba, Nyabugogo, Sebeya and Upper Nyabarongo convened in Musanze District for a three-day workshop to assess progress on integrated catchment development plans and to define a roadmap for finalising them.
The plans respond to the Government’s goal of meeting water use needs for all sectors while ensuring sustainable economic development and green growth.
Last week’s workshop was organised by the Integrated Water Resources Management Department (IWRMD) of the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority in conjunction with the Water for Growth Rwanda programme.
Participants included officials from central government, districts, the private sector, civil society, the Netherlands embassy and Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment.
The Head of IWRMD, Vincent de Paul Kabalisa, said developing concrete catchment plans is a sure way to increase productivity of water for economic development.
“Rwanda’s water resources can be utilised efficiently and effectively if we make the right plans and mainstream them with what we have in our performance contracts. We should be able to meet competing needs of water, for example, for agriculture, domestic use and energy, among others, by making concrete catchment plans that will also focus on sustainability,” Kabalisa said.
The team leader of Water for Growth Rwanda, Ebel Smidt, said if every sector plans for its own water needs then there is bound to be over use by some players while others face scarcity.
“Independent planning for every sector leads to less water use, so we are here to discuss with our stakeholders and agree on integrated plans and implementation process,” Smidt said.
Water for Growth Rwanda is a fouryear Rwanda-Netherlands joint initiative aiming at strengthening institutions for proper management of water resources in Rwanda to contribute to socio-economic development and equitably improved livelihoods.
Jules Aimable Muhizi, Gicumbi vice-mayor for finance and economic affairs, said management of water resources is still a challenge but that the workshop was an eye-opener on how to manage water better.
The First Secretary at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Jan Vlaar, said the Dutch government contributed $20 million for IWRM investments in the four demonstration catchments where Water for Growth works.
The catchment taskforces at district level, which are crucial for the final development of the plans and the implementation, were also present.
In a statement, the Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR)–Rwanda, Eugenia Kayitesi, said good water management is crucial for green growth in Rwanda, adding that people have to cooperate to use water wisely.
“Coordination is acknowledged by our government to be a critical issue for development. The catchment approach is an excellent vehicle for coordination at the district level and between national and district levels,” he said.
To ensure Rwanda’s water future, the Government has adopted Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) as its overall approach to water management.
IWRM is an internationally recognised approach to land and water management that promotes the coordinated development and management of natural resources to maximise socio-economic gains equitably and without compromising environmental sustainability.