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Rwanda – Nyabarongo Multipurpose Dam Set to Transform Agriculture and Energy Landscape

Rwanda is on the brink of a transformative project that not only addresses crucial issues of water supply and electricity generation but also heralds a new era for agricultural prosperity. The Nyabarongo Multipurpose Dam, a collaborative effort between the Government of Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China, is poised to irrigate over 20,000 hectares of crops, alleviate flooding risks, and foster economic growth on an unprecedented scale.

A Confluence of Progress: Unveiling the Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant

In February 2020, Rwanda and China solidified their commitment to progress by signing a framework agreement enabling a $214 million concessional loan from China Exim Bank. This financial injection is fueling the construction of the Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant—a powerhouse project that goes beyond electricity generation. The 43.5 MW hydropower plant, currently under construction between the Northern and Southern provinces, is set to revolutionize the landscape, both figuratively and literally.

Multipurpose Marvel: Irrigation, Energy, and Environmental Stewardship

At its core, the Nyabarongo Multipurpose Dam aims to irrigate 20,000 hectares of land, breathing life into the valleys of Nyabarongo, Akagera, and Akanyaru rivers, as well as the upstream regions of lakes Cyohoha and Rweru in Bugesera District. The dam, standing at an impressive 59 meters high and stretching 363 meters long, will create a reservoir with a storage capacity of 803 million cubic meters.

Jerome Hitayezu, Head of the Irrigation Programme at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), explains that the dam’s impact will be far-reaching. A substantial canal will transport water from the dam in Shyorongi to Bugesera District, ushering in a new era of agricultural productivity. The irrigation program, inclusive of rice and sugar cane crops, holds the promise of not only meeting local demand but potentially expanding to global markets.

China’s Sinohydro: Architects of Progress

The engineering prowess of China’s Sinohydro takes center stage as the company secures the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Nyabarongo Multipurpose Dam. Their responsibilities extend to the installation of a crucial 110kV transmission line, ensuring seamless connectivity in the pursuit of a sustainable and integrated development landscape.

Beyond Borders: Rwanda’s Vision for Agricultural Transformation

The Nyabarongo multipurpose dam is a cornerstone in Rwanda’s broader strategy to irrigate 102,284 hectares by 2024. This commitment to agricultural transformation aligns with the recent launch of the Muvumba multipurpose dam, a €121.5 million endeavor set to fortify water supply, irrigation, and electricity generation.

Muvumba Dam: Expanding Horizons

Originally designed to irrigate 7,380 hectares, the Muvumba dam underwent a significant expansion, now projecting to cover 8,800 hectares across multiple sectors. Anticipated to complete by 2027, this dam, with a heightened capacity to supply water and generate electricity, is a testament to Rwanda’s unwavering dedication to progress.

Local Leaders Optimistic for Agricultural Revolution

The mayor of Nyagatare District, Stephen Gasana, envisions a substantial boost in agricultural productivity thanks to the irrigation facilitated by the Muvumba multipurpose dam. With a current cultivation scope of 40,000 hectares per season, the dam promises to change the game by ensuring a steady and reliable water supply, ushering in a new era of predictability and prosperity.

As these ambitious projects unfold, Rwanda’s landscape is being reshaped, not just physically, but economically and environmentally. The Nyabarongo and Muvumba multipurpose dams symbolize a harmonious blend of progress and sustainability, a testament to the nation’s vision for a brighter, greener future.

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