World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the importance of water sustainability. This year, the theme is “Water and Jobs”, highlighting the need for a competent workforce to get to “sustainably use our water for growth”.
In Rwanda context, water will help achieve EDPRS II targets (2017) since water/land management’ as a cross cutting theme, an enabler of economic sectors to achieve (economic) growth and, ultimately, contribute to poverty reduction: In agriculture, where a large increase in irrigation is foreseen, in energy, where more than five hundred megawatts (563 megawatts) will be generated and in the mining sector, where revenues should triple.
The population is expected to increase at around 13 million and access to potable drinking water is targeted to reach 100%. Girinka Program and industries promotion will also require an important quantity of water of suitable quality.
Our water resources are already threatened by sediment pollution due to mining activities and poor land use,and deforestation. This is affecting hydropower production capacity, poses additional flood risks, just to name a few impacts. In addition, water losses are high in several sectors (e.g. in drinking water supply). This calls for a clear set of policy guidelines to make sure that the available limited water resources are sustainably managed and developed towards a green economy. This calls also for need for a competent workforce that addresses all levels of the skills-pyramid in water-related sectors
Rwanda has adopted the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to ensure proper management of its water in order to achieve its economic development goals and ensure its water, energy, and food securities. IWRM provides a framework for considering the different uses and users of water resources, leading to actions that ensure that all relevant factors are taken into account in resource allocation, while ensuring sustainable ecosystems. Making it happen requires a workforce with the right competences.
The IWRM approach is one of the Government priorities in water resources development and is being supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to build capacity and strengthen the institutions involved in water sector of Rwanda.
This year, Rwanda World Water Day will therefore be spread out on two weeks of March to encourage institutions to implement the IWRM approach in order to plan jointly, create more jobs, and contribute to economic development, while safeguarding our ecosystems.
Together, let’s work to improve water management and enhance jobs in all water related sectors, as two important pillars for economic development and poverty reduction in Rwanda.