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Rusumo dam-social challenge in Kagera River Basin: Participation of the affected people
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies.
2003 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

From long ago, rivers have always sustained livelihoods of the peoples through the utilisation of different natural resources available in the basin. All over the world, many rivers have been dammed in the spirit of performing various purposes: agricultural irrigation, domestic water supply and power generation or flood control.

By the year 2001, the World Commission on Dams brought into focus the debate on damrelated impacts on local economies, societal cultures, livelihoods security and environmental conservation. The outcome of the World Commission on Dams consultation strongly recommended the governments to involve all stakeholders to address appropriately all issues associated with dams.

The overall focus of this master thesis is the projected Rusumo Falls dam in the Kagera River Basin (East Africa). Based on literature documentation completed by on-ground observations and qualitative interviews at Rusumo, various issues connected with the dam are presented.

In the first part, the Kagera River Basin background information is provided. It gives an overview of the physical and human characteristics of the Kagera watershed and subcatchments. A brief history and socio-economic indicators are given to enlighten the outsiders about the development challenges of the riparian countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Regional frameworks for the development and management of Kagera Basin natural resources are presented: The Kagera Basin Organisation and the Nile Basin Initiative.

Section two analyses the likely social problems around the Rusumo Hydro Electric Project resulting from the land issue and the electricity needs and posing a dilemma for the governments committed to reverse the poverty and developing the economies. Benefits and drawbacks of the dam as perceived by the beneficiaries are thoroughly listed.

Based on the overwhelming supports from the Rusumo people, the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania together with the international community, a public participation scenario is suggested in the last chapter. It encourages the governments to come together with all interested groups and the affected people of Rusumo and address any matters associated to the dam management process.

The conclusion of this study draws some strategies and methods to ensure full popular participation in the dam management. It provides some ways to involve all stakeholders to address the related issues. As the Rusumo people perceptions of the dam possible effects might not be realistic, the popular participation can offer them a good opportunity to handle socio-economic problems such as the land issue, the economy restructure and the nature conservation. In this case study, the government of Rwanda is therefore responsible for the establishment of platforms for a broad popular consultation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tema vatten i natur och samhälle , 2003. , 57 p.
Keyword [en]
World Commission on Dams, dam management, affected people, stakeholders’ participation, information access, communication platforms scenario, land issue in Rwanda, poverty, social and environmental impacts
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7959ISRN: LIU-TEMAV/MPWLS-D--03/004--SEOAI: diva2:22853
Available from: 2006-12-20 Created: 2006-12-20

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Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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