Nyabugogo is characterised by moderately steep slopes, high rainfall intensity and intensive land use.The upstream part of the Nyabugogo is regulated by the large Muhazi Lake (2,000 ha) with a catchment of 870 km2, which is more than half of the total catchment area. Importantly the lake attenuates the possible floods along downstream river stretches.
In addition to numerous smaller tributaries, which all carry heavy silt loads, the larger Yanze River is rather steep and is used by WASAC to provide drinking water to Kigali.
Water in Nyabugogo River is known to be of poor quality, mainly dues to sediments from agriculture, mines upstream and pollution from drainage of rainwater and sewerage from Kigali settlements. Nyabugogo River later on flows into the wider valley of the Lower Nyabarongo.