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Understanding Rwanda’s water users and uses


Irrigation is leading in consumptive water use in Rwanda, followed by domestic water use, and mining, industries, fish ponds and coffee washing stations. This is according to the report updating “Water Users and Uses Assessment in Rwanda”.

Consumptive water use is water removed from the supplies without return to a water resource system.

The consumptive water use for irrigation stands at 363 403 960 m3/year, representing 59.75 percent, domestic water use is 38.61 percent of the water use, followed by mining, industries, fish ponds and coffee washing stations with 0.79 percent, 0.53 percent, 0.17 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

The agriculture sector contributes over 30 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Rwanda. Irrigation is one of the most efficient ways of improving agricultural production with up to about 15 percent. By 2020, about 48 500ha were irrigated and the government is targeting to expand this to 102 281ha by 2025 (RAB, 2020).

However, the hydropower water use was considered to be non-consumptive (water removed from the supplies can be used by other sectors) as there are only two hydropower (Nyabarongo I and Rukarara) where dams were constructed before power generations. For hydropower on Lakes there was no increase in surface area due to dam construction, therefore no additional evaporation as the result of hydropower construction.

The report was based on the existing water users and uses assessment conducted in 2017, data collected from relevant organizations, review of updated literature and existing data and field data collection conducted for some identified users.

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