Muhanga, Rubavu 6th & 7th Dec 2016: Over 100 stakeholders from various sectors convened in Muhanga and Rubavu districts respectively to discuss the start of improved land and water management projects for 2000 hectares in Upper Nyabarongo and Sebeya catchments.
The Early Implementation Projects (EIPs) worth 2.8 million Euros will be implemented using resources from the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) basket Investment Fund (IIF) that has a start capital of 18.6 million Euros. The IIF was established under a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (EKN).
Through Water for Growth Rwanda, an initiative of the two governments, the Netherlands government supports the development of integrated land and water resources management in four demonstration catchments of Muvumba, Nyabugogo, Sebeya and Upper Nyabarongo.
In Upper Nyabarongo catchment, the EIPs will constitute of agroforestry, river reservoir and buffer zone protection which aim at reducing the high influx of sediments that flow into the Nyabarongo I reservoir.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the meeting, the Mayor of Muhanga district, Beatrice Uwamariya said that erosion is threatening the operation of the Nyabarongo I hydropower plant and welcomed the initiative citing that once implemented, the project will strengthen and sustain the conservation and management of natural resources in upper Nyabarongo catchment.
“Nyabarongo is one of our main water resources and any projects that aim at improving its protection are very welcome. It is not the first time that the Netherlands embassy has supported Rwanda in key development initiatives. We are grateful for such partnerships which impact positively on our population’s livelihood,” Uwamariya noted.
The Head of Cooperation in the EKN, Pieter Dorst, thanked district authorities for attending the stakeholders meeting in big numbers adding that the Netherlands has good experience in IWRM and that the two catchments of Upper Nyabarongo and Sebeya will be the first beneficiaries of these EIPs.
“IWRM goes beyond borders of districts and it is impressive to see participants from various districts. Water is a cross cutting issue. Let us all actively participate in its protection,” he noted.
Ngororero Mayor, Godefroid Ndayambaje called for sensitisation of the people located in Muhanga and Ngororero districts where the projects will be implemented adding that there has always been a need to plant trees to curb soil erosion so this idea is indeed welcome.
In Sebeya catchment, two EIPs will be implemented in Rubavu and Rutsiro districts. Illegal mining, inappropriate agricultural practices as well as deforestation or conversion of Gishwati natural forest land to livestock grazing areas have impacted negatively on downstream hydropower and water treatment plants of Keya, Gihira and Gisenyi. With the aim of controlling these effects, the EIPs will include agroforestry, terracing and afforestation and river buffer zone protection.
The Vice Mayor of Rubavu district, Janvier Murenzi said that the proposed projects will indeed mitigate the problems at hand and that stakeholders are ready to support implementation of these initiatives.
Prime Ngabonziza, the Coordinator of the Single Projects Implementing Unit in the Ministry of Natural Resources added that a lot of time has been spent on finalizing studies for these projects and that the time to act is now. He called upon leaders and stakeholders to own the initiatives and ensure successful implementation.
The EIPs will be implemented by Rwanda Reserve Forces as well as residents of districts where the projects will be implemented.
A field visit at the left bank of Nyaborongo I Reservoir illustrated the urgent need for erosion protection and the effectiveness of simple measures as trench construction and agroforestry. Maintenance of the land and water management measures was found to be an important factor to be taken into account in any actions. Also improved access of the areas for transport of products is needed to increase the success of the projects.
By cooperation between the different sectors at district and national level added value to individual projects is created. According to the Team Leader of Water for Growth Rwanda, Ebel Smidt, a catchment is a gift of nature to realize joint Imihigos.
“Let’s make the implementation of catchment plans a showcase of joint Imihigos,” he stated.
Dufatanye mu mihigo