Hydrogeology of Rwanda
This page has limited information and needs to be updated. If you have more information on the hydrogeology of Rwanda, please get in touch!
Dr Kirsty Upton and Brighid Ó Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey, UK
Please cite this page as: Upton & Ó Dochartaigh, 2016.
Bibliographic reference: Upton, K. & Ó Dochartaigh, B.É. 2016. Africa Groundwater Atlas: Hydrogeology of Rwanda. British Geological Survey. Accessed [date you accessed the information]. http://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Hydrogeology_of_Rwanda
Terms and conditions
|Estimated Population in 2013*||11,776,522|
|Rural Population (% of total) (2013)*||73.1%|
|Total Surface Area*||24,670 sq km|
|Agricultural Land (% of total area) (2012)*||75.3%|
|Border Countries||Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Annual Freshwater Withdrawal (2013)*||150 Million cubic metres|
|Annual Freshwater Withdrawal for Agriculture (2013)*||68%|
|Annual Freshwater Withdrawal for Domestic Use (2013)*||24%|
|Annual Freshwater Withdrawal for Industry (2013)*||8%|
|Rural Population with Access to Improved Water Source (2012)*||68.3%|
|Urban Population with Access to Improved Water Source (2012)*||80.7%|
* Source: World Bank
These maps and graphs were developed from the CRU TS 3.21 dataset produced by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. For more information see the climate resource page.
In Rwanda, rainfall data are collected by MeteoRwanda. More detailed information on rainfall at a catchment scale is described in the Rwanda Water Resources Master Plan (2014).
|Within Rwanda are two major basins: the Nile and Congo basins, both of which are shared with neighbouring countries. Other smaller river basins include the Rusizi, Akanyaru and Akagera rivers (all shared with Burundi); the Akagera River (shared with Tanzania); the Muvumba River (shared with Uganda); and Lake Kivu and the Rusizi River (shared with the DRC). Some institutional arrangements are operational, either bilateral (Commission Mixte between Rwanda and Burundi) or regional (e.g. EAC, NBI, ABAKIR; these latter two specifically on water resources) (RNRA 2014).
Nine Level 1 surface water catchments have been classified for Rwanda (see RNRA 2014, page 10).
Surface water monitoring is generally good for the large catchments, but station data often lack absolute topographic reference level; and discharge measurements are often absent or at best out of date. For small catchments, monitoring is less well established (RNRA 2014). Information on surface water resources in Rwanda is described in the Rwanda Water Resources Master Plan (2014). Surface water monitoring data are stored in the Rwanda Water Resources Information System (RWRIS), which is managed by the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority-Integrated Water Resource Management section (RNRA-IWRM).
The geology map shows a simplified overview of geology at a national scale (see the Geology resource page for more details).
More information is available in the report UN (1988) (see References section, below).
Significant outcrops of alluvial sediments occur in the Akagera River floodplain (shown on the map below as the line of Unconsolidated Aquifer along the eastern border of Rwanda). Smaller outcrops of alluvium are also present in river valleys across the rest of the country, but are too small to be shown on this map.
The hydrogeology map below shows a simplified overview of the type and productivity of the main aquifers at a national scale (see the Hydrogeology map resource page for more details).
Some information on the hydrogeology of Rwanda is available in the report United Nations (1988) (see References section, below).
Groundwater use and management
The Ministry of Environment and the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA) have responsibility for managing water resources in Rwanda. The RNRA, and particularly its Integrated Water Resource Management section (RNRA-IWRM) is the institution with responsibility for monitoring groundwater resources.
A Rwanda Water Resources Master Plan (2014) contains detailed recommendations for future management of groundwater, including setting up and operating a groundwater monitoring network.
At present there is no systematic groundwater monitoring in Rwanda. Groundwater monitoring data (both levels and quality) are generally only collected during specific, temporary projects (RNRA 2014), such as the development of the Rwanda National Water Master plan, during which a few groundwater stations were monitored temporarily. Groundwater data collected will be stored in the Rwanda Water Resources Information System (RWRIS).
At the moment, therefore, there is not enough information to assess the groundwater resources in Rwanda in terms of total volume available, water levels, essential water quality parameters, or annual recharge assessments, interactions with surface water resources, or current abstraction and used water infiltration rates (RNRA 2014).
For further information about transboundary aquifers, please see the Transboundary aquifers resources page.
References with more information on the geology and hydrogeology of Rwanda may be accessed through the Africa Groundwater Literature Archive.
Information on Integrated Water Resource Management] in the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority
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Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA). 2014. Consultancy services for development of Rwanda National Water Resources Master Plan. Tender Number 021/RNRA/2011-2012. Master Plan Report: Main Volume. Final Version May 2014. Prepared by SHER Ingénieurs-Conseils s.a.
United Nations. 1989. Groundwater in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa: Rwanda. United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development.