Rwanda: Building Resilience to Flood Hazards in Northwest Rwanda through Improved National and Local Capacity

Context and objectives 

This project is developing an operational flood early warning system for the Sebeya River Basin in North-West Rwanda, an area which has witnessed deadly floods. This system will be embedded in a new national early warning platform, which can be extended to provide early warnings of hydro-meteorological hazards across the country by adding further components and models. Once operational, the system will provide warnings through a new smart-phone app and other communication channels.

The project outputs inform the development and investment planning for the Government of Rwanda, the World Bank, and other development partners. Specifically, it informs the World Bank's Landscape Approach to Forest Reforestation and Conservation (LAFREC) project, which promotes flood risk reduction as essential for land restoration activities.

Additional funding for the project was awarded in the aftermath of significant flooding in the City of Kigali in the winter of 2019. Under this new component, the Rwanda Water and Forestry Agency (RWFA) is developing a new hydrological model that analyzes flood-prone areas of Kigali, prioritized by the city’s flood management task force. Technical assistance is also provided to the City of Kigali on developing green infrastructure solutions to mitigate the impact of flooding in precarious urban neighborhoods.

Main activities and results

  • Preparing technical studies and analytical work, particularly hydrological modelling and flood-risk mapping for selected watersheds in the targeted landscape. The models and flood risk maps produced are helping to identify disaster-prone communities and sectors.
  • Supporting improvements of national and local development plans in disaster prone areas, by identifying high-risk activities and appropriate disaster risk reduction interventions.
  • Developing actionable hydro-meteorological forecasting and an effective early warning system for at-risk communities in Northwest Rwanda.
  • Providing expertise for the training agencies and communities both at the national and at the local level. 

The Rwanda Environmental Management Authority has improved national and local understanding of hydro-meteorologically induced disaster risks by undertaking a hydrologic assessment of the Sebeya Basin. Using flood hazard maps, disaster-prone communities were identified in the Kanama Sector of the Rubavu District. In addition, a prototype version of a national early-warning system has been installed, and officials from the RWFA were trained on the use of these systems. 

Partnerships and coordination

The project's main counterparts included the RWFA, the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority, the Rwanda Meteorological Agency, and the Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management. 

  • Africa
Window of Action
  • Window 2
Amount approved
  • $850,000
  • 10/2017 - 10/2021