The Water4Virungas (W4V) is a multi-year project that aims to reduce conflict in the Volcanos landscape in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda by increasing access to water, improved watershed management and improved community dialog. Witteveen+Bos together with its partners MDF Training & Consultancy (Lead Partner), Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) are carrying out the project for the Dutch Embassy in Rwanda.
The Virunga landscape is famous for the mountain gorillas that lies at high altitudes in nature conservation parks. The Volcanos mountains are characterized as a wet region. However due to the nature of the geology in the area rainwater infiltrates into the porous volcanic rocks at the higher altitudes of the mountains which causes water sources to be scarce at the higher altitudes, especially the areas bordering the Virunga National Park area. As a result, the local population is illegally entering the Virunga National Park to obtain water from small sources and swamps.
In order to achieve the project goals a series of sub-projects have been identified and carried out in the 3 countries. Since 2017 more than 20 sub-projects have been carried out (or are under construction), below is a summary of the works carried out to date:
- Rehabilitation of more than 50 rainwater harvesting tanks (5m³)
- The construction of over 600 rainwater harvesting tanks (5-30m³)
- The construction of more than 50km of drinking water pipelines
- The construction of more than 10 large cattle troughs
- Planting of over 3 million trees and grass stubs (erosion reduction measures)
- Capacity building regarding drinking water management, agricultural best practices and erosion reduction that has reached more than 38,000 people
The W4V team is extensive and includes experts from different countries and with a wide range of different expertise’s. Together the team is working to finalize all the works by the end of 2020.
Wow, I stand amazed, this is a double gain! helping communities to have access to adequate clean safe water and to be a part of the conservation promotion campaign.
Sara Kigongo, Community Engagement Expert Uganda, tells: 'it’s a great opportunity for me to join efforts of making it possible for communities to have sustainable access to safe clean water and conservation in the W4V target communities. As the Project Officer for Water4Virungas project - Uganda, community participation, ownership, proper governance, and maintenance of the water facilities alongside supportive community conservation efforts is a key aspect will trigger transformation and development at household and community level. Talk about water any small amount of water in an area which has no single natural source of water. You will hear all kinds of stories and experiences from long time ago. You will have the support and commitment of every woman, every man, every child, every leader, every partner from every corner of the world who has the experience of water in the communities surrounding MGNP. A place where a 20ltr jerrycan of water goes for almost 1 USD during the dry season creates conflicts between communities and conservation agencies.'
Working as an engineer in the W4V project is for me the fulfilment of a dream, a dream of being able to take up challenges as a team to improve the living conditions of thousands of people through technical achievements
In October 2017, the project was officially launched in Congo and Uganda. The specific responsibilities of Witteveen+Bos are performing a data inventory, selecting intervention areas, producing designs, conducting a technical feasibility assessment, organising surveys, preparing tender documents, supervising the performance of work, and taking care of technical training and management.