17 December 2020

Feasibility studies for rehabilitation and conservation of large water reservoirs for Burkinabe partners

Water resources are scarce in Burkina Faso. Many water reservoirs are slowly drying up, putting the water availability for agriculture, fishing and drinking water production at risk for millions of people. L'Agence de l'Eau du Gourma (AEG) and l'Agence de l'Eau du Nakanbé (AEN) are two water boards in Burkina Faso responsible for water resources management in Burkina Faso. Both water boards are partner in the Faso Koom project. Faso Koom is a partnership of regional water authorities Amstel, Gooi en Vecht, Drents Overijsselse Delta, Noorderzijlvest, Hunze en Aa’s, World Waternet and the Burkinabe water authorities. The Faso Koom project has been supporting both organisations to gain access to a Develop2Build funding, which will enable them to conduct feasibility studies for the rehabilitation and conservation of nine large water reservoirs managed by AEG and AEN.

Develop2Build

The dams of the nine water reservoirs were built in the 1960s and have not been rehabilitated since. They are still functioning, but are in dire need of rehabilitation before they start to pose a risk of breaching, causing massive floods in the area where thousands of people live and farm. Dredging of the reservoirs is also needed, as they lose their capacity to provide water to its users. Regional water authorities Drents Overijsselse Delta and World Waternet played a vital role in uniting AEG, AEN and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to explore the possibilities for funding feasibility studies for the restoration and preservation of the dams of these water reservoirs in Burkina Faso. As a result, RVO has launched a tender to conduct the feasibility studies, open to EU companies to apply for until 18 December 2020. With these feasibility studies, RVO aims to get insight into what is needed (in terms of technology and costs) to rehabilitate the dams and dredge the sediment of the reservoirs. It will also seek to better protect and operate the reservoirs. Part of the studies is an environmental impact assessment.

As soon as the feasibility studies are completed and the findings show a positive result, RVO will support AEG, AEN and the Burkinabe Government to gain the funding needed to actually implement to the required rehabilitation works (possibly through their DRIVE-programme). This will take about four years to complete. AEG and AEN are positive that they will gain the funding needed, as the feasibility studies will include all the economic, technical and legal aspects needed to ascertain the likelihood of completing the rehabilitation successfully.

Now is the time to verify what is needed to keep the dams safe and secure water resources for a big part of the population of Burkina Faso.

Cattle in Lake Bam near Yalka village, Burkina Faso (Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR)

Millions depend on the water reservoirs

The water reservoirs managed by AEG and AEN are crucially important for the livelihood and drinking water access of millions of people. One of these reservoirs is Lake Bam, located near the town of Kongoussi. Many people rely on the fertile soil around Lake Bam for farming. On top of that, the area has attracted many displaced people from the north of the country, where armed extremist groups are present, causing a humanitarian and security crisis in the past few years. Lake Bagré is another major water reservoir that supplies water to irrigate the many rice fields in the area (Bagré Pole), playing a key role in providing food security in the country.  None of the nine dams have been studied since they were built, almost sixty years ago. Now is the time to verify what is needed to keep them safe and secure water resources for a big part of the population of Burkina Faso.

The Boulsa dam, Burkina Faso (Photo by Saidou GAMENE/AEG)

Develop 2 Build

Develop2Build (D2B) is a Government-to-Government programme of RVO. It offers governments in 37 developing countries and emerging markets direct assistance in setting up infrastructural projects. The projects aim to have a positive impact on people, the environment and society.

More information: https://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/develop2build-d2b