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Kagera River Basin Integrated Water Resources Management Project - Project Document


project report

WSP International Sweden AB, ERM and BCEOM

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The Kagera river is the largest of the 23 rivers that drain into Lake Victoria. The river basin covers
some 60,000 and is estimated to have a population of almost 14 million people. It includes the
four countries Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The proposed project would be one of three river basin projects included as one of seven
programmes within the Subsidiary Action Programmes of NELSAP which forms part of the Nile
Basin Initiative (NBI). It would be implemented in countries which are among the poorest in the
world, and the Kagera river basin is a neglected area within these countries. The region is marred by
conflict with the horrific genocide in Rwanda still in fresh memory, and the civil war in Burundi still
The basin area is characterized by low productive peasant agriculture and endemic poverty. There is
continuing land degradation and loss of soil fertility caused by population pressure and primitive
farming methods. There is ongoing deforestation and an almost total absence of reforestation
activities. Virtually the only source of energy is biomass, contributing to the deforestation. The soil
erosion results in an increased nutrient load in the river and also in Lake Victoria, leading to
problems with water hyacinth and eutrophication.
In the basin area there is also insufficient water for household use and for grazing. Wetlands are
exploited and degraded, and there is unplanned migrations across borders of pastoralists with their
cattle causing friction in the border zone. Malaria and diarrhoea are endemic, and some 11 % of the
population is believed to suffer from HIV/AIDS. In parts of the area women-headed households are
in the majority because of the decimation of men by conflicts and disease, but women are
disadvantaged in a variety of ways. Due to HIV/AIDS there are also many children-headed
The proposed Project would provide an enabling environment for future programmes seeking to
eradicate poverty over the long term. Major project outputs are (i) to establish a sustainable
framework for joint management of the shared water resources of the Kagera river basin, (ii) to
identify key management issues and investment opportunities, (iii) to develop a joint integrated water
resources management strategy for the Kagera river basin, and (iv) to build capacity for sustainable
implementation of the strategy. The Project would start with four zones including ten districts
representing all four of the basin countries, and the number of involved districts would later increase
to at least 20.
The Project would prepare a monograph on the basin as a basis for the preparation of a joint water
resources management strategy. A ready-made model called Water Evaluation and Planning System
(WEAP) would be used to produce alternative water development scenarios for the basin. An
institutional framework for transboundary cooperation would be established, enabling districts to
collaborate across borders on projects of common interest. The apex body for this framework would
be the Regional Project Steering Committee (RPSC), usually meeting in Entebbe with representatives
Kagera Basin Management Project – Project Document
WSP International Sweden AB, ERM and BCEOM
from all four countries. Process Managers, one for each country, would play an important role to
enable this framework.
This report makes proposals regarding support to a set of small-scale investment schemes, which
would be supported out of a fund equivalent to some 15 % of total project costs. The Project would
build a hydro-meteorological network to replace the previous monitoring stations along the river that
have fallen is disrepair. Long-term investment opportunities in the basin area would be identified.
The report contains a discussion of a Decision Support System and concludes that none is needed
beyond what WEAP will provide, taking into account such systems provided already by FAO and to
be provided for the NBI Secretariat. The Project would seek to identify suitable community level
projects and try to get them implemented as a way to focus cooperation on common problems/issues
in the basin. It would build a framework for transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment, and it
would throughout focus on capacity building as a major vertical activity.
The report proposes that the Project Management Unit (PMU) would be located in Kigali. It goes on
to propose that the PMU be accommodated in the former offices of the Kagera Basin Organization
(KBO) which is assumed to be disbanded. Further, it proposes that the rental income of KBO, about
USD0.5 million per year, be used by the Project as a counterpart contribution by the four
participating governments. The RPSC should rule on these proposals.
Recommendations are included with regard to procurement of the implementation phase
consultancy, based on three possible options. The Consultant recommends the option of having
procurement performed by the NBI Secretariat, assisted by UNOPS or an international firm. The
RPSC should rule on this matter also.
The Project implementation plan is heavily front-loaded with most key activities launched during the
first two years. Total costs are estimated at almost exactly USD5 million over four years, which
should be within the financial envelope available provided that the aforementioned counterpart
contribution is included.
A Logical Framework Analysis has been included. It shows that the major risks relate to the political
will of the four basin countries not only to maintain domestic peace and peaceful external relations
but also to support the Project within the means at their disposal. A critical risk factor will be the
availability of trained staff for the Project. Institutional sustainability will hinge on the appointment
of suitable Process Managers as a basis for the institutional framework, the role of the RPSC as a de
facto river basin commission will also be important.