Poor drainage raise fears of worse flooding

Sunday November 15 2020

Rwandans across the country are facing the risk of flooding as extreme weather conditions including above normal rainfall is experienced this month till December. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya


Many parts of Rwanda are at risk of flooding as the country begins to get above normal rainfall all the way to December.

The worry informed by the lack of a proper storm water management system, which leaves many lives at risk while property and infrastructure including roads could be damaged.

Davis Bugingo, flood management and water storage development division manager at Rwanda Water Resources Board told Rwanda Today the city needs quick interventions that mitigate risks of floods in all areas deemed flood hotspots namely Rugunga, Nyabugogo, Magerwa, Nyabisindu, Rugando, all catchments and sub-catchments.

“The quick interventions needed are in terms of extension of drainages both in terms of size and length, and upgrades of culverts and bridges in flooded areas so they can easily convey storm water.

Other interventions are needed upstream in terms of tree planting, catchments, buffer zone protection and rehabilitations,” he said.

Records by the Ministry Of Emergency Management indicate that floods were responsible for colossal damages of ininfrastructure, homes and economic activities and the toll has been on the rise since 2018 when heavy rains in 15 districts claimed lives of 31 persons while another 31were injured in Kigali City alone.


The death toll rose to 100 deaths and about 230 injuries nationwide between January to December 2019 and climbed to over 200 deaths this year.

City authorities indicate that the outcome of ongoing floods risk assessment for Kigali will guide the formulation of a comprehensive storm water management plan to be annexed to the new master plan unveiled in September.

Thorough studies

The need to carry out thorough studies was cited by the city council as the reason the Kigali master plan was formulated without a storm water management component.

City authorities will have to devise quick interventions against recurrent floods pending ongoing studies to guide the formulation of a comprehensive stormwater master plan to fix drainage problems posed by fast urbanisation.

Kigali City Mayor Pudence Rubingisa said the City was implementing different measures to mitigate adverse effects of floods but had not provided further details around covered areas and cost estimates by press time.

Rwanda Today learnt that some of the activities were in terms of building flood risk reduction infrastructure in flood-prone areas of Kigali as well as rehabilitation of culverts, bridges and drainages in areas such as Nyabugogo and Mulindi that get submerged during heavy rains.

City authorities also intensified the crackdown on structures built on areas deemed prone to rain disasters such as wetland buffers and steep slopes around Kigali.

The weatherman warned of another round of extreme weather phenomenon including floods even as he predicts the normal to below normal rainfall during his October to December forecast.

A team of experts gathering data to serve as a basis for designs of suitable drainage infrastructures to respond to City’s fast urbanization and resultant land use changes in view of the 2050 growth horizon indicate that it could take until next year for preliminary studies to be completed.

The Covid-19 pandemic is understood to have derailed travels of international experts on the team doing modeling of various flood hotspots around Kigali City to determine hydrological analyses in terms of runoff volumes, capacity of drainages and catchment area, among other aspects, as well as requisite nature based solutions Citywide.

City authorities would use the outcome of the studies to develop a detailed municipal stormwater management master plan that addresses citywide flood risks, and determine the exact cost of its implementation in specific areas.