By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
The Rwanda Water Resources Board has announced that the problem of flooding caused by the river Sebeya, especially in the sectors of Kanama, Rugerero and Nyundo, has been almost solved after constructing a number of flood mitigation infrastructures such as retaining walls, water channels and dykes that prevent the river from overflowing and activities aimed at directing and slowing down the water movement during the rainy season.
This was confirmed on 18th January 2023 by the Director General of the Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB), Dr. Emmanuel Rukundo who was speaking to the Media shortly after visiting the ongoing construction works of the Sebeya retention dam in Kanama Sector of Rubavu District, in the Western Province of Rwanda.
The achievement is one of the results of the 4 year project entitled “Embedding Water Resources Management in Rwanda (EWRM) – Sebeya Project which has been implemented in Sebeya Catchment since 2019.
As explained by Dr. Rukundo “Apart from the conservation of the Sebeya Catchment, among the things we had to do was to fight floods, maintain the river and help the people to live a better life”
“So far the problem of flooding has been almost solved 100% and there are few activities that are remaining which include planting trees and expanding terraces where they are not yet available.” Dr. Rukundo said.
“Normally, the Sebeya River flooding was the first problem. It used to destroy the infrastructure and claim lives of residents. Now there is no record of damages after the construction of the waterway and water retention walls to avoid the overflowing of the river.”Dr. Emmanuel Rukundo
Some flood mitigation and protection structures on Sebeya river include Sebeya lateral dyke, Sebeya retention dam, Gisunyu-Karambo retaining wall, and Bukeri diversion channel.
Dr. Rukundo requests the local communities to play their due role in the protection of the infrastructure set up to fight the floods and to avoid pressure in the vicinity of the River in order to provide it with complete security which is also part of disaster prevention measures.
“On the national side, activities like these are of great importance, we have a maintenance plan for them, we come every year to remove the sediments so that they can continue to work smoothly to avoid damages.”
Authorities in Rubavu district say that the District is also ready to maintain the Sebeya River and protect the lives of the people.
Among the activities that the district plans to do is to continue relocating people living in life-threatening zones even though it requires resources.
According to Nzabonimpa Deogaratias, the Vice Mayor for Economic Development in Rubavu District, The 4-year project is coming to an end. However, he adds “”Changes are obvious”,
He says that the deaths caused by the flooding of Sebeya are no longer happening, adding that in the past, the leaders were not sleeping because of the problem.”
“The difference is that the citizens are happy and safe.”
Nzabonimpa said “Residents will continue to be relocated as the capacity will be available,”
Project beneficiaries speak out
The havoc caused by Sebeya river floods has been reduced, according to Espérance Mukarukundo, a resident from Nyundo Sector in Rubavu District, thanks to flood control infrastructures built through the Sebeya Project.
“ The Sebeya Project has thoroughly saved our lives. Now, we can safely run our daily activities in Kanama and Nyundo Sectors thanks to flood control infrastructures that have been built to protect us from Sebeya river floods, which used to destroy a number of properties and claim lives.” Mukarukundo noted.