Semuliki River Catchment and Water Resources Management

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > Africa General


The project aims to establish a mechanism for integrated water resources management for at least 3 sub-catchments feeding the Semuliki River by the end of 2012.

Through close cooperation with partners and stakeholders the project aims to establish a system for catchment and integrated water resources management starting at a sub-basin level. During the pilot phase sub catchments will be demarcated and evaluated to test their suitability as units for integrated water management. Further analysis will be undertaken to verify the sub catchments’ feasibility and compatibility with water sector reforms requirements.


The Semuliki River and its catchment area is shared between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).The catchment includes a network of protected areas in the central Albertine Rift Montane Ecoregion and covers large areas of ungazzeted forest landscape.

The River originates in the Central African mountains of Nyamulagira in the DRC and flows through Lake Edward; entering the rift valley floor in DRC on the western side of Rwenzori Mountains and finally the north-eastern end of the mountains where it becomes the frontier of the international boundary between Uganda and DRC.

The altitudinal range in the catchment is from 600m above sea level in the semuliki flats to 5,110m at the peak of the Rwenzori. This wide range allows for a high level of species diversity and endemism.

The 6 ethnic groups living in the catchment to a large extent depend on the river for their livelihoods. The Bamba and the Bakonjo found in the valleys and mountains slopes are agriculturalists who depend on rain fed agricultural crops; the Batuku in the rift valley floor are pastoralists who rely on cattle products; and the Batwa (pigmies) are forest dwellers who depend on hunting, fishing and gathering.

The catchment faces many threats due to an increasing population and poor governance of natural resources. The major threats to the catchment are:

- deforestation;
- poor land management practices;
- deteriorating quality and quantity of the river waters; and
- weak institutional capacities on catchment and water resources management.


- Identify 3 sub-catchments of the Semulki River suitable for integrated water resources management.

- Consult key stakeholders.

- Develop strategies for integrated water resources management by 2009.

- Build cross-sectoral, inter-district, and cross-border cooperation and coordination.


The Semuliki project will provide additional resources to the governments of Uganda and Congo to implement innovative catchment and water resources management resources in the Semuliki catchment.

The project will be implemented in 2 phases, starting with an 18 month inception phase in which data and information gathering; awareness problem identification and mapping will be carried out. This will lead to the development of the strategy for integrated water resources management in the identified and mapped catchments.

The second phase of the project will carry forward the interventions initiated during the inception and build further capacity for the implementation of the catchment management plans, including the establishment of trans boundary mechanisms for catchment and water resources management.

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