This was revealed by an official representing Rwanda Energy Group (REG) at Rubavu Power Plant in the Western province of Rwanda.
According to statistics given by Maurice Serugendo who is in charge of Rubavu Power plant, for instance, more than 60 thousands kilowatts of electricity get lost in a month due to river Sebeya flooding and this affects more than four thousands homes which lack electricity due to the mentioned challenge.
In many cases you will hear complains of occasionally black outs in their neighborhood and blame to the institution in charge of Energy for not taking care of it.
Despite such complaints, there are some projects and partnership with stakeholders which have been launched in Rubavu District to raise awareness on the protection of Sebeya river catchment because sometimes people play a big role in what happens to them especially in terms of lacking water and electricity.
Through the campaign, people are trained on how to fight soil erosion and flooding as well as urging them to harvest rain water in order to reduce the chance of that erosion or flooding.
The Water for Growth landscape restoration projects are part of the initiatives in place to deal with similar challenges and their effects on Sebeya River as well as on other development projects including Water treatment Plant and Power Plant.
“Most of the time we are forced to stop operation for an hour trying to handle the river’s erosion and then after one single month, we take nine hours of non-operational to remove all sediments brought into the river by soil erosion and flooding.” Serugendo narrates
“This costs us a loss of sixty six Kilowatts which is supposed to serve more than four thousands homes” He adds
Though river Sebeya seems to face a big challenge and lessening energy production capacity especially during rainy season, the government of Rwanda says that this issue will not be handled with individual effort, rather the collective efforts in the whole catchment area while citizens also should understand their role in fighting against soil erosion and flooding.
Kwitonda Philippe who works with Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA) says that “The sustainable solution is to make a good management of our lands. If we are doing agriculture, we also have to use terraces. Once people will be able to manage the given terraces and also manage the given trees, the issue of Sebeya will be handled.”
Kwitonda was commenting on some interventions provided by Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority with the support from Water for Growth Rwanda Programme which is a Rwanda-Netherlands partnership project aiming to sustainable management of water resources through Integrated Water Resources Management commonly known as IWRM approach.
There is no timeframe set by the government for when this issue will be fully handled, but Kwitonda says that it will take longer due to the process of planting and growing of trees and other activities that are supposed to be done including the community training.
He also revealed that in future, people who live in the catchment area will start to be paid or rewarded for their role in fighting against soil erosion and flooding through an approach called “Incentives for Ecosystem Services.”