To assist MINAGRI in establishing at least 3 Best Practices Scaling up sites on Rainwater harvesting and related water use and saving technologies such as drip irrigation, conservation agriculture and Agroforestry; and in collaboration with MINAGRI, assist chosen districts to initiate training of key stakeholders in rainwater harvesting and setting up of demonstration sites. The selected districts received funds from the Government of Rwanda to start up rainwater harvesting activities.
Landsat satellite images (30metres resolution), Rwanda's national scale digital elevation model (DEM) and Rwanda's one kilometer (1km) resolution rainfall data were procured for the mapping of RWH potential at national scale. Processing of these data along with the mapping exercises were conducted at the ICRAF-GIS Laboratory. In-situ, runoff and rooftop development domains have already been mapped and analyzed at national and provincial scales.
In addition, four Aster satellite images of 15 metre resolution and Rwanda topographical maps were also procured. Three aster images data were analyzed and Landuse/Landcover layers produced. The other planned activities mainly creating 25m digital elevation models in 2 and 3 dimensions, calculating harvestable rainwater for the three main development domains at district level (second level analysis) for selected districts and producing the necessary maps is currently underway and is due to be completed.
Finally, Quick bird satellite images of 61centimetre resolution for detailed watershed planning were procured. Soil data for Rwanda is yet to be received from the government of Rwanda. Upon completion of the GIS analysis and mapping activities, a more detailed report will be prepared describing all the GIS analysis activities carried out along with the products in the form of maps produced from the analysis.
In order to initiate field operations, experienced Rainwater Harvesting Specialists Field Implementation (RWAFI) were deployed to Rwanda to work in close consultation with MINAGRI, Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the community. RADA provided the day to day supervision of activities on the ground. ICRAF provided technical support to generate outputs aimed at mapping out rainwater harvesting potential for the Republic of Rwanda, conducting training needs assessment, producing manuals for educating Rwandese on rainwater harvesting and finally, enhancing the capacity of key stakeholders in the country to practice rainwater harvesting activities.
The RWH interventions implemented and established during this period aimed at increasing water availability in the agriculture sector using simple decentralised, participatory, locale specific rainwater harvesting technologies. The interventions addressed the following key issues: loss of runoff and inadequate storage; inappropriate farming methods; inadequate skills and knowledge on RWH; environmental degradation and low soil fertility
To realize the objectives, a comprehensive action plan elaborating rainwater harvesting activities to be carried out was developed and submitted to MINAGRI. This was discussed and approved, setting the stage for implementation of activities aimed at increasing water availability in the agriculture sector in Rwanda.
The immediate major success of the project was the introduction and formation of Common Interest Groups (CIGs) as an approach to implementation. Beneficially farmers were brought together and organized into operational CIGs to address and implement the production of mangoes, pawpaw and vegetables. The long term measure is to organize these groups into farmer field schools, eventually graduating to form cooperatives. The formation of the CIGs made it easier for the Project Management Team at field level (ICRAF and RADA) to provide technical and logistical facilitation. The project targeted all male and female headed households living in the operational areas.
Following these efforts, 2,765 community members were mobilized and sensitized on rainwater harvesting using PRA methodology. Twenty six Common Interest Groups (CIGs) were formed. Community mobilization was conducted to create awareness on the project and mobilize the target groups. The first step was to make households and the targeted institutions recognise the importance and value of rainwater harvesting for their own lives. RADA supported the ICRAF field implementation team to meet the District Mayors, District Agronomes, Executive secretaries, Cell secretaries and Umudugudu leaders in order to facilitate access to the community.
On the technical front, a combination of GIS and technical ground truthing was important in the planning and design of the water harvesting technologies. Since implementation would be based on the hydrologic units, the GIS tools were crucial in the following areas: assessing the water resources potential at national, regional and local scales; identifying the scaling up best practices sites; and determining relevant technologies for implementation. All the three major water resources i.e. rainfall, runoff and groundwater were recognized and categorized according to utilization. Direct rainfall was considered for conservation agriculture while runoff and groundwater were both considered for supplementary irrigation. The major technical accomplishment was capacity building where practical training was conducted for the agronomes, artisans, technicians and farmers. During the training sessions, a lot of structures were installed in the ground. Below are summaries of achievements in respect to the work plan.
Identification and establishment of appropriate RWH demo-sites Nine sites were identified in Eastern and Southern Provinces using GIS technology. This was reinforced by ground truthing where a rapid mapping using Garmin XL12 and G60 was done to establish the span of the expected project sites. Regional GIS maps capturing the hydro-physical features were produced by ICRAF. In Eastern Province, there are three sites in Bugesera District one each in Kibungo and Kanzenze, Cygaro Sectors. In Southern Province, there are seven sites, one each in the three sectors of Nyanza and four sites in Ruhango sector. GPS data for the selected areas were finalized and submitted to MINAGRI.