The Ruzizi River forms part of the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here we see the view of this border from Bugarama.
Context and Justification
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes and lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. To the south, Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, forming a border between Burundi and DRC and connecting Lake Kivu to Lake Tanganyika. Home to a population of over 2 million people, the Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River basin face manifold challenges relating to the unsustainable use of water and related resources, and the lack of integrated management of these resources across sectors.
Photo: The Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Basin is known for its steep topography. The research team from SHER Consult spent time in the field at multiple sites gathering data of the Basin Baseline Study, including here in Karambo sub-catchment.
The basin baseline study (the study) documents the current state of the basin’s water resources and natural environment, while also identifying current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the basin. The study takes a holistic, WEF Nexus approach, identifying the interlinkages between water, energy, food security, and the natural environment. The study was drafted in close cooperation with GIZ project partner and basin organization ABAKIR (Autorité du Bassin de Lac Kivu et de la Rivière Ruzizi/Lake Kivu and Ruzizi River Basin Authority).
Along with ABAKIR, a diverse group of stakeholders from the three basin states representing local, provincial, and national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes, and others participated in a kick-off and validation workshop hosted by ABAKIR, GIZ, and the EU. The kickoff workshop, held in August of 2020, was an opportunity for ABAKIR and its stakeholders to influence the study methodology and highlight various areas of primary concern for further research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the kick-off workshop was an innovative online-in person hybrid format: small groups gathered together in various locations and were all joined together on a virtual platform.
The validation workshop, which was also held using a hybrid online-in person format on December 16th, 2020, allowed the study authors from to present the results and solicit comments from stakeholder groups that would be incorporated into the final version of the study, which was later transmitted to GIZ and ABAKIR at the end of the year.
Photo: Rwanda is known as the country of 1,000 hills due to its steep topography. The hills pictured here in Karambo sub-catchment, a tributary to Sebeya have terracing for erosion control. Between the terraces, major gullies appear on historically unprotected areas.
The study will serve as a foundational document to inform and prioritize further GIZ project actions, as well as those of ABAKIR and its many stakeholders. One key challenge facing the basin has been the lack of comprehensive data on the basin’s resources. This study (as of this article’s publication) serves as the most comprehensive study encompassing the entirety of the basin.
The study results have indicated several priority areas, including soil degradation, erosion, water quality and pollution, data exchange across national boundaries, and regulatory harmonization.
The study will also provide the technical basis for a Strategic Action Plan of the basin, which will formalize basin priorities and provide specific recommendations for the short, medium, and long-term vision of ABAKIR as a governance institution.
Photo: Intake and sandtrap of the Gisenyi hydropower plant on the Sebeya river.