June 22, 2024


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What if we fully implement Sebeya Catchment Plan?

By: Ange de la Victoire Dusabemungu

Sebeya catchment plan was developed by taking into consideration national orientations as articulated in National Transformation Strategy (NTS1), vision 2050 and the Nation’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGRS).

It was developed in highly participatory manner.

Centrally, the Water Resources Management Department (WRMD) of Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA) was designated as lead agency, and partner ministries were represented through Programme Steering Committee (PSC) and Focal Points Group (FPG).

 At catchment level, officials and staff, as well as representatives of a number of special interests from each district within the catchment, jointly constituted a Catchment Task Force.

From the past three years, Sebeya River is still a matter of concern due to the river’s devastating effects on surrounding communities.

On this Friday, 6th March 2020, It is reported that due to heavy rain, Sebeya River has again overflowed causing calamities to neighboring population especially to citizens of Kanama sector of Rubavu District, Western Province of Rwanda.

According to Media report about 4.5 Hectares of Maize and tea plantations were heavily affected by the flood while 34 houses were flooded with the river’s water

These are the same stories that are heard in media after a while.

Even if programmes for the catchment rehabilitation/restoration are ongoing, it is still questionable why the river is still colliding with citizens while among measures taken there should have been citizen’s relocation from risky zones to better places and give enough room to the river flow.

In the Meantime the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has funded a Rwf22bn project to preserve Sebeya and other catchments in Rwanda. The project titled ‘Landscape Restoration and Integrated Water Resources Management in Sebeya and other Catchments’is implemented by Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA) in collaboration with International Union of Conservation of nature (IUCN), Netherland Development Organization (SNV), and Action for the Protection of the Environment and Promotion of the Agricultural Sector (APEFA).

As a matter of facts, restoring the catchment and bring back the health of the river sebeya requires implementer to know that there will be no lasting solution if local population continues to invade the river’s integrity by constructing or cultivating in its way.

It’s really a good advice for the all concerned institution to own and implement the catchment plan as developed by experts after a thorough study that proposed many solutions as written in this catchment plan.

Normally, the Sebeya Catchment Management Plan (2018-2024) eyes to make the catchment a well-managed catchment, that is home to prosperous communities, living in harmony with nature and drawing social and economic benefits from water and environmental resources.’

The cathchment combines Rubavu, Nyabihu, Rutsiro and Ngororero Districts.

Sebeya is a Level 2 catchment and part of the larger Level 1 Lake Kivu catchment. Located on the western (Congo River) side of the Congo-Nile divide, Sebeya is one of the most upstream parts of the Congo River basin. Sebeya’s total surface area is 336.4 km², approximately 1.4 % of the total surface area of Rwanda (26,338 km²).

The Sebeya River flows for 48 km through the catchment, running in a north-westerly direction from its origin in the mountains (2,660 masl (Metres above mean sea level (MAMSL)) to its outflow into Lake Kivu at the town of Rubavu (1,470 masl). Elevation in the catchment vary between 1,460-2,000 masl in the western part, to 2,000- 2,220 masl in the centre, and from there rapidly increases to the steep, eastern side, up to 2,950 masl.

The Catchment population is young with over 40% of the population below 15 and almost 55% below 20. Although there has been a significant reduction in the population living in extreme poverty, especially over the last 10 years, 47% of the population still lives in informal settlements or dispersed housing (30% HH) hence causing collision with river’s way and with its outflow…

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