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RainWater Management A Challenge – City of Kigali To PAC

by Daniel Sabiiti
7:11 am

The City of Kigali has been pinned on failure to fully manage waste and rain water in the city settlements, a target which was supposed to be attained by the end of 2024.

The Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on the Auditor General’s audit report for the budget year ended June 2023 showed that the City doesn’t have an environment mitigation plan, which would risk lives and infrastructure damage.

The hearing led by PAC Member, MP Anitha Mutesi, showed that city authorities didn’t have a plan for putting in place infrastructure to catch rainwater in planned settlements and also went ahead to not implement planned ways of managing rain water.

For example, though the City of Kigali is among the five administrative regions with a masterplan- it does not indicate a drainage plan in its physical plan- of how designated settlement areas will collect the rain water but instead only have road plans – especially in Kinyana, Karembure, Gatare among other five settlements in Kigali.

On doing the opposite of the planned ways of managing rain water, the hearing also showed that the City authorities offered construction permits to citizens without ensuring necessary drainage and road infrastructure is in place.

“Sincerely, the way the roads were constructed in these sites, there was no tangible manner to direct the rain water. And when you look closely you realise that the rain water risks loss of lives and citizens’ land. We need an explanation here,” MP Mutesi said during the hearing held on May 6.

The City Mayor, Samuel Dusengiyumva said that the more the city grows, the more the problem of water management becomes a challenge, and despite the fact that there are no more deaths resulting from wetlands flooding, the lack of capacity to put in place infrastructure to direct all the rain water in homes to wetlands remains a hurdle.

“This is where we have a challenge and it makes it hard to put these conditions on citizens without a way of sustainability,” Dusengiyumva said and noted that new emerging estates are putting in place the infrastructure, but this also comes with loads of water damaging existing roads.

“To be honest, there is a lot of work to be done here to get enough capacity to construct the needed infrastructure because the current settlements don’t have the capacity to construct road infrastructure,” Dusengiyumva added.

On the issue of offering construction permits without water management infrastructure Dusengiyumva stated that the plan should be to have drainage infrastructure in place before settlements are constructed but due to lack of financial capacity, this has been a challenge; and citizens were impatient to wait.

Tentatively, the Mayor said that they have been using a linience approach to allow citizens to raise new settlements; however, sustainably, the City is planning on new infrastructure projects to address the concerns raised (in the five settlement sites).

The Mayor confessed to the fact that the city doesn’t have a water management and drainage plan- which is supposed to be part of a physical plan in the city masterplan,which has to be developed and connected with the water streams as most streams like Rwampara continue to burst dramatically despite an upgraded outlet in Rugunga.

“This means we need to have a water management masterplan. What we have is the city masterplan which is old and needs to be upgraded,” the mayor said.

He revealed that the City is currently discussing with Rwanda Housing Authority and the ministry of infrastructure to shift the method of construction upwards as the construction pressure on land increases due to an increased urban population.

“The City of Kigali authorises about 3000-4000 permits per month and this is mostly single housing, There we need to rethink settlement plans,” Dusengiyumva stated.

The mayor noted that there is a new rehousing project (to construct upwards) which is being tried out in the Mpazi area with over 1,000 affordable houses which will be completed by July, 2024.

Dr. Emmanuel Rukundo, the Director General of Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB) said that the biggest challenge to water management in the city and other regions is climate change, increased development, rains, and populations but there is a new survey (Storm Water Masterplan) that is underway to be piloted in Kigali and later on to other provinces.

Rukundo stated that this survey will be completed at the end of the year, and it is expected to show possible solutions and provide a guiding plan – drainage plans and financial needs in water management.

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