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Reducing conflict by increasing access to water

Witteveen+Bos is one of the partners in the Water4Virunga project. The project area is the Virunga volcano landscape in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

This area has experienced a number of conflicts during the past decades. The aim of the project is to reduce conflict through increased access to water and improved watershed management in the Virunga landscape. Our project partners are MDF Training & Consultancy, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. The project is financed by the Dutch embassy in Rwanda, and will be carried out in close coordination with the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration programme and other relevant local partners.

The Virunga landscape is famous for the mountain gorillas that live at high altitude in nature conservation parks. Rainwater infiltrates into the porous volcanic rocks. There are several sources and rivers in the lower-altitude areas, but local residents face water shortages in higher-lying regions. As a result, the local population is illegally entering the Virunga National Park to obtain water from small sources and swamps. Water4Virunga will contribute to regional stability through improved security and inclusive growth by facilitating collective action at various levels to:

  • Improve access to water; for example by implementing new water schemes, extending existing schemes with new tap points, and building rainwater harvesting tanks
  • Implement integrated water management measures (preventing erosion flooding, providing water for cattle)
  • Strengthen organisations that operate and manage water distribution systems
  • Bring people together around water issues – within communities, between communities, and across international borders
  • Transform water-related conflicts through improved delivery of water services and integrated water resource management.

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.

+ jaap.klein@witteveenbos.com