Roundtable meeting on “Potential of Rainwater Harvesting in Urban Rwanda”

Date: 27 March 2019 

Organised by: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi

Co-host by:  Rwanda Water and Forest Authority (RWFA)

Venue: Classic Hotel Kigali


According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2018, water crisis is one of the most pressing threats perceived as having the biggest impact in the next 10 years. Across continents, natural water resources are becoming more strained each year with increasing urbanisation. The urban population of Rwanda is increasing rapidly, as well; socio-economic life is improving. Hence, water demand for satisfying the needs in municipal sector is increasing.

Rwanda is committed to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states’ especially in its Goals 6, it is essential to optimize water demand management activities by solving the water resources challenges.However, the current water supply system in the country is hampered by various issues, including high pumping cost for distribution due to hilly terrain, hence high electricity cost to maintain the water supply infrastructure, low water supply coverage, low water production and high non-revenue water.

The combined stress of sustained economic development, population growth, urbanisation and climate change mean an improved, integrated approach to water management is required to ensure Rwanda’s water resources are equitably, efficiently and sustainably used. Besides inadequate per-capita availability, floods accompanied with soil erosion are a common issue in Rwandan cities.

Rwanda has a high potential of Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) with an annual average rainfall of 1200 mm with monthly consistency throughout the year. Considering its immense potential, RWH must be promoted as part of infrastructure development to achieve water augmentation and stormwater management. 

The need of the hour is to use the approach of Water-sensitive urban design and planning (WSUDP) that integrates the urban water cycle, water supply, storm-water and groundwater management with spatial and urban design. To discuss the same, CSE has come up with the report to evaluate the applicability of RWH as one of the potential measures for sustainable water supply and storm water management in urban areas of Rwanda. 

The report documents an assessment of the existing RWH best management practices to encourage diverse stakeholders on the potential of mainstreaming RWH and how it can contribute to sustainable water management. It focuses on high visibility and high impact urban RWH interventions / case studies that have been undertaken at various levels like institutional buildings, or other key buildings - schools, hotels or industries in Kigali. This document also highlights the challenges related to sustainable implementation and functioning of RWH in Kigali in various sectors i.e. legal, social, economic and environmental. Furthermore, potential solutions to overcome these challenges are suggested, supported by interviews of various stakeholders. 

Aim:  To review the applicability of RWH as one of the potential measures for sustainable water management in urban areas of Rwanda.

The expected outcomes of the roundtable meeting are:

  • To review the existing framework and develop new framework for mainstreaming urban rainwater harvesting in Rwanda
  • To review the status of selected BMPsof RWH in urban Rwanda.
  • To discuss the issues/barriers in mainstreaming of RWH for sustainable water supply and stormwater management in cities of Rwanda.
  • To create water resilient centres for urban Rwanda in wake of climate change.

Invitation by CSE and RWFA only

For more information kindly contact:

Dr. Mahreen Matto
Programme Manager, Water Programme
+91-11-40616000 (Ext: 257),

Mr. Alexis Musabyimana
Water Storage Development Officer
Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority