City of Kigali to restore drainages to cope with floods

The City of Kigali is set to rehabilitate two drainages every year to reduce the effects of floods, The New Times has established.

Merard Mpabwanamaguru, Kigali’s Vice-Mayor in charge of urbanization and infrastructure says the increase in population in the capital from 1.1 million to 1.6 million people has triggered the increase in settlements and infrastructure that require more facilities to manage floods.

“Human activities, unplanned settlements, and climate change are triggering floods because the environment is threatened. Due to infrastructure development, there has been low penetration of runoff water. We need at least two drainages every year to manage floods,” he said.

"We are conducting studies for three more drainages in Gatsata, Bumbogo in Gasabo district and Kigarama in Kicukiro district. As we build a 215-kilometre road network, we have to build drainages connected to these roads. For instance, we have to construct one in Nyabisindu which drains runoff water from the Remera sector to Nyabisindu sector in the wetland,” he said.

Currently, the city is rehabilitating two drainages-one in Nyarugunga sector, in Kicukiro district and the other in Nyakabanda sector in Nyarugenge district to be completed by December this year.

He said that the drainages will cost about Rwf2 billion.

Another drainage being constructed is located in Muyange cell, Kigarama sector of Kicukiro district.

“We also have to channel water on Busanze-Muyange raod in Kicukiro district. The water will be channeled into the wetland and River Akagera.

We also expanded bridges in the Nyabugogo area on Mpazi drainage to reduce floods that used to hit the business hub and more such facilities are needed. Gabions are also being constructed in Kanogo and Kinamba areas as short-term interventions besides desilting existing drainages” he said.

He said that there are two studies being carried out aimed to reduce floods.

“There is a study being carried out on six flood hotspots. These include the areas of Kanogo, Rwandex, Nyabisindu, Gisozi among others. After the study we will come up with interventions to curb floods in catchments of these areas,” he said.

He said that in partnership with Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Rwanda Water Resources Board, the ministries of infrastructure and environment, and other institutions are also designing a stormwater master plan.

“The study will give us a picture of the increase in storm water and how we can manage it,” he said.

Sine 2020, the City of Kigali said it needs Rwf30 billion funding for rehabilitating and expanding several drainages that usually cause flooding in the country’s capital.

Over 40 drainages need rehabilitation and expansion.

In Gasabo district, rehabilitation and expansion of at least 13 drainages has been halted by funding constraints.

There are also 10 and 13 drainages in Nyarugenge and Kicukiro districts, which face financing constraints, the City of Kigali said.

Jean-Baptiste Nsengiyumva, a Disaster and Natural Hazard Risk Management expert said that the floods in Kigali city are caused by lack of enough water channels.

“The drainages and culverts are not enough in the city. Regular desilting is also needed. Settlements and infrastructure development are leading in causing floods because they are not harvesting rainwater and building drainages to manage runoff water. One of the areas that are prone is the Kimisagara sector of Nyarugenge district. We need structural and non-structural mitigation measures including the expansion of drainages,” he said.

Nsengiyumva said that as the master plan is being implemented, relocating people from high-risk zones could reduce the effects of floods.

“River Nyabugogo among other flood hotspots needs urgent interventions. Infrastructure has to be resilient to disasters,” he said.