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)

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) conducted a roundtable on ‘Potential of Rainwater Harvesting in Urban Rwanda’ on 27th March, 2019 at Kigali, Rwanda. The aim of the meeting was to review the applicability of rainwater harvesting (RWH) as one of the potential measures for sustainable water management in urban areas of Rwanda.

In this regard, CSE along with the support from Rwanda Water and Forest Authority (RWFA) has come up with a report on ‘Potential of Rainwater Harvesting in Rwanda’. The draft report was presented during the deliberation which is the compilation of the existing RWH best management practices to encourage diverse stakeholders on the potential of mainstreaming RWH. 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.

During the inaugural Mr. Francois-Xavier Tetero, Head of Water Resources Management Department, Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority, Rwanda, and Dr. Mahreen Mattoo, Programme Manager, CSE addressed the participants. This was followed by Dr Matto’s presentation on the key findings of the report on Potential and Challenges of Urban Rainwater Harvesting in Rwanda.

A total of 23 stakeholders from 17 organisation attended the meeting. Participants included officials from RWFA, Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Agriculture, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority, Donor Agencies, Advisors and representatives of key Non-Governmental Organizations working in water sector.

The inaugural session was followed by the roundtable discussion on upscaling RWH as a sustainable way of solving the water related challenges in urban areas of Rwanda. The stakeholders actively contributed and highlighted the challenges like poor urban planning and stormwater management, need of advocating and awareness programmes, lack of research and baseline data to track the impacts implemented, absence of rainwater harvesting policy which is still in draft stage. Few of the key questions discussed were: ‘Is there enough political and regulatory push to support adoption of RWH in the country? What are they?’; ‘What are the financial barriers that are preventing adoption of RWH?’; ‘Are there enough benefits at user level, if they adopt RWH?’; ‘What could be the elements of an enabling environment to support upscaling RWH at a country level?’

The discussion led on to the last session in which participants worked in groups to discuss the key areas to mainstream RWH under the following sectors ‘Legal and institutional’; ‘Socio-economic’ and Environmental. The legal group highlighted the importance of development of RWH strategy and enhancing the finance mechanism with improvement in coordination among stakeholders. The environmental group emphasized on catchment management along with wetland and SUDS designing. The socio- economic group stressed on providing government subsidies and demonstrating pilot projects. The capacity building at different levels was also underlined as one of the commination pathway and awareness campaigns. The sessions were facilitated by Shivali Jainer, Deputy Programme manager, CSE.

The meeting ended with way forward presented by Dr Matto along with suggestions and feedback provided by stakeholders to hold further activities in this sector.