Wetland Rehabilitation in the City of Kigali
Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda is surrounded by a vast network of broad valley bottom wetlands. Unfortunately, wetlands in Kigali have been heavily degraded by encroachment and intensive agricultural practices which has undermined their potential to provide water quality enhancement and flood mitigation functions. The Gikondo wetland is an extreme example of wetland degradation in the City and has been used historically as an industrial site (Gikondo Industrial Park), raising concerns regarding ground/surface-water pollution and soil contamination.
Rwanda has made considerable steps in addressing wetland management in recent years which includes issuing of regulations to regulate and manage wetland use. The government has also initiated processes to remove infrastructure from wetlands and buffer zones and is now embarking on an ambitious wetland rehabilitation initiative. This will be undertaken with support from financing received from the International Development Agency (IDA) and a grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) towards the cost of the second phase of the Rwanda Urban Development Project (RUDP II), which includes a strong focus on wetland management.
Eco-Pulse Consulting has been providing technical support to the World Bank in prioritizing and planning for wetland rehabilitation activities. The Gikondo wetland has been earmarked as the first site for wetland rehabilitation and will see some 100Ha of previously industrial land rehabilitated to a wetland system that helps to regulate floods, improves water quality whilst also providing an important green space in the City for recreation and tourism. Work is set to commence in mid-2020 and is set to provide an example of wetland rehabilitation that Rwanda and the African Continent can be proud of.