Kigali design lacks floods plan

Monday June 10 2019


The Kigali City master plan urgently needs a storm water management plan to mitigate the impacts of recurrent flooding along major catchments. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

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The new Kigali master plan could be launched without a storm water management component, which would be useful in dealing with floods.

Experts warn that the city urgently needs the storm water management plan to mitigate the impact of recurrent flooding along major catchment areas including Nyabarongo and Nyabugogo rivers.

Official data shows inefficient storm water management is worsened by expansion of the built-up areas as well as those covered by pavements while existing drainage systems are insufficient and inadequately maintained to accommodate increasing water flow.

For instance, available statistics suggest that the land surface covered by buildings, roads and others in Kigali more than doubled from 65 square kilometres to 140 square kilometres as at 2014, and this trend has continued.

With the City’s hilly terrain forcing all storm water into the valleys especially in rainy season, floods have been affecting downstream infrastructure while also compromising water quality.

Environmentalists underscore that the safe and sustainable growth of Kigali City is only possible when there is a systematic drainage collection, transportation and disposal of its storm water.


This was the key recommendation of the country’s latest State of Environment and Outlook Report published in 2017, with a specific focus on achieving sustainable urbanisation.

It suggested that in many areas, road infrastructure needs upgrading.

Alex Mulisa, co-ordinator of the national fund for environment and climate change said besides focusing on putting up infrastructure to limit and mitigate effects of run off, there was a need to take into consideration the vulnerability of specific City areas.

However, Kigali City officials insist that the storm water management will be incorporated later when designs are completed.

Rwanda Today learnt that government needed to first secure funds to carry out a comprehensive study expected to provide crucial information needed to embark on the design of a new municipal drainage system.

According to officials, the study specifically needs to establish detailed topographic, rainfall and land use information as well as hydrological models so planners can design drainage routes that can accommodate current and future storm water volumes in view of the 2050 City growth projection.

A draft City master plan was recently tabled and its final version is expected to be unveiled  within a three-month time frame, according to city officials.