Objectives of the IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin

The overall objectives of the IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin are to contribute to the following goals:


The objective of the Programme is to ensure the availability and the quality of water resources through regional IWRM investments and related measures. In addition to an environmentally sound and economically viable management of the water resources, the measures shall contribute to regional cooperation and integration. The overall objectives are to contribute to the following goals:


  • Improved access to water supply and sanitation for the people within the LVB;
  • Protection of the water environment;
  • Increased awareness and commitment regarding IWRM and improved capacities;
  • Appropriate resilience against climate change.


The IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin is uniquely positioned as an open, and integrated umbrella Programme, targeted at the promotion of regional cooperation, partnership-building, institutional and capacity enhancement, and investments towards achieving the overarching goal of managing the Lake Basin as a regional public good, protection of the water environment, sustainable utilization of natural resources, and climate change resiliency. The Programme fully builds on the principles as set out in the LVBC Protocol and further reinforces the strong position of LVBC as regional IWRM Programme Coordinator, data and knowledge hub.

Background of the Programme

LVBC is intensifying its efforts on IWRM, to address the urgent need for regional coordination among the Partner States. Intersectoral and transboundary coordination of IWRM activities is still a challenge. Regulation and their enforcement regarding water resources and ecosystems protection are partly on-going but the process is very long.


Transboundary issues make water management of LV challenging and sometimes delicate. Overfishing of the Lake, siltation from erosion of deforested watersheds, species introduction, industrial pollution, pollution through municipal wastewater, lack of water storage and runoff from agricultural areas are amongst the most pressing issues in water management of the Basin. The high-density, fast-growing, young, rural and poor population will result in unsustainable pressure on the ecosystems, including deforestation, wetland degradation and soil erosion.


The degradation of these ecosystems also leads to poor water and soil productivity which ultimately results in degradations of neighbouring ecosystems. In addition, climate change and climate variability will negatively impact the access to and demand for water in the entire Lake Victoria Basin.


Although many programmes have been implemented over the last years, the planning, design and construction of water supply systems, waste water treatment facilities and solid waste management do not keep up with population growth.


IWRM does not just look at the water requirements of the different sectors, it ensures that the necessary institutional and legal tools are in place to support integrated management, as well as ensuring the necessary management and economic tools, e.g. policies, incentives and permitting mechanisms, thereby creating an enabling environment. Policies and regulations to address the issues mentioned have been developed by EAC member states. However, these policies and regulations are still primarily sectoral and country based. In addition, a process towards regional coordination and integration is required to give real substance and scale to IWRM. Regional coordination on regulations would contribute to reaching the overall development goal of water related conflict resolution.


Data, models and tools are prerequisite to support IWRM. Despite significant national progress to improve data access and exchange regionally, environmental information is not readily shared. Improved analysis and decision-making as well as cost effective use of relatively expensive data must spring from genuine cooperation and willingness to share digital data, particularly digital maps. LVBC offers a viable institutional base for effective information sharing.


LVBC is committed to develop IWRM for the Basin using a step-by-step approach. The short-term focus is put on the pressing and “no-regret” issue of sanitation. In the long term, the Programme should lead to a regional water framework management plan and a related regional priority investment plan.

IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin

The IWRM Programme for the LVB aims at one long term overarching goal through three components and 12 result areas.


Component 1

The 1st component is focused on enhancing the role of LVBC as IWRM Programme coordinating and managing institution, on enhancing the role of the stakeholders of the relevant IWRM institutions in the Partner States and on capacity development. An IWRM Needs Assessment study was carried out and an Operational Manual for the Programme was elaborated.


Component 2

The 2nd component is focused on the identification, selection and implementation of IWRM infrastructure investments in the LVB. LVBC’s capacity to promote, identify and select priority projects will be developed. Partner countries will be supported in implementation.


Component 3

The 3rd component is focused on IWRM database and model development, strengthening the knowledge base and providing expert advice to Partner States and investors on key issues related to water use, transboundary river basins and water quality issues.


Through its Programme Coordination Unit (PCU), the LVBC Secretariat is the IWRM Programme Manager. The PCU shall manage the project selection process, the procurement for regional projects, the contracting of consultants and works contractors, and the cooperation with the involved local institutions in project implementation and supervision.


The PCU is positioned under the LVBC Deputy Executive Secretary Projects & Programmes, as a capacity group that draws required resources from LVBC departments. The existing LVBC Programme Officers will provide expert services to the Unit. The current LVBC Water Resources Management Officer is responsible for the Unit.


A Programme Operational Manual has been prepared to support the main stakeholders in managing the investment component and the institutional component of the IWRM Programme. It lays down definitions and defines investment management and financial procedures including a clear assignment of tasks and responsibilities. The manual provides specific guidance on roles and responsibilities of institutions and officials in carrying out their duties in key areas of Programme implementation.

Lake Victoria IWRM Needs Assessment

The legal framework for anchoring transboundary IWRM in the Basin is provided, above all, by the LVBC Protocol and EAC Treaty. The analysis of the LVBC Protocol and EAC Treaty showed that the legal framework for anchoring transboundary IWRM is adequate. The Protocol also provides for ‘equitable utilization’ which is one of the most important customary rules for sharing water resources. Regarding the proposed KfW funded IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin, the Protocol supports the key roles of LVBC in project and programme preparation and implementation.


It is evident that LVBC is mandated by the Protocol to coordinate programmes and other interventions with a focus on the regional components. The KfW Programme has an explicit regional focus. LVBC has demonstrated that it is successful in fund raising; the strong institutional anchorage of LVBC and the concept of regional co-operation appeals to many Development Partners.


Currently, executed projects are the main way through which IWRM objectives are pursued. Because they are mainly implemented through national institutions, the current project results are insufficiently anchored and visible at the level of LVBC; the regional programmatic role of LVBC is still less developed.


Data collection and sharing from the Partner States is fragmented and not adequately structured, key monitoring systems are not operational. The LVB water quality database, the water resources information system (WRIS), is insufficient.


The key needs of LVBC for the establishment of the IWRM function are:


  • The development of a programmatic approach towards IWRM, through which LVBC can start to deliver visible added value to Partner States in planning, programming, project identification, prioritization, selection and formulation.
  • Capacity for programme management, related strategic & operational planning and coordination through the development of an IWRM Programme Coordination Unit (PCU).
  • Optimized mobilization and utilization of funds from Development Partners and facilitated regional procurement and coordination of regional project implementation.
  • The development of an LVB IWRM knowledge and data/information exchange hub for the region (including an improved Basin wide monitoring system).
  • 5-year LVB IWRM strategy and annual IWRM Operational Plans and budget.

IWRM database and model development

LVBC will be responsible for operation and maintenance of a computer based GIS-database and IWRM model which shall simulate the impact of investments and other activities in all water sectors. The Consultancy has prepared technical specifications of both the IWRM database and the IWRM model.


The main purpose for the IWRM model is to enable LVBC in policy development such as the setting of water quality standards, monitoring and for accelerating implementation of measures in the countries based on valid data. With the model the impact of investment projects and other activities in water related sectors can be simulated, determining their cost-effectiveness and supporting prioritisation of investments.



1. Tool for prioritization of investments and measures for water quality improvement in the LVB.

2. Tool for policy development, through simulating the effects of policy measures and interventions in relation to the future development of the water quality.

3. Tool for use in knowledge development and as knowledge base.


The database should assist users in carrying out the needed pre-processing tasks for data quality assurance and to perform their monitoring tasks that are currently underdeveloped. Also, it should facilitate essential tasks like data export, mapping and reporting tasks, as the use of existing databases is currently limited due to absence of these functionalities. The model should focus on the basic needs identified during the project, thereby enabling the performance of basin wide water balance and mass balance calculations. The Nile Basin Decision Support System software is chosen as it is flexible enough for future expansion, and as capacity and experience are available.


Building on the needs assessment and lessons learned from previous models and database efforts it was found that in order to develop a successful IWRM database and model, except for software capabilities discussed above, mainly organizational and capacity conditions must be met in order to avoid failure of the database or model. Hence, the main focus shall be put on organisational and capacity development aspects. It is recommended that the database has joint ownership of LVBC and the Partner States as in the future water management authorities may want to rely on it. A detailed description of key tasks including responsibilities for the setup and operation of IWRM database and model was elaborated.

Next steps

Based on the elaborated documentation and on provided commitments from LVBC as well as the owners of the HPIs, KfW has confirmed its willingness to finance the implementation of the HPIs and of the IWRM-database and model. The scope of the HPI in Mwanza was modified. The immediate next steps after the formalization of the Programme include the following:


  • Establishing the IWRM function through staffing and equipping the IWRM PCU at LVBC, and aligning it with the LVBC    organisation.
  • Implementing the Results Based Management System in line with the overall LVBC Strategic Plan 2016-2021.
  • Elaboration of the 5-year IWRM Programme for the Lake Victoria Basin strategy and the first Annual Plan 2017-18. This would include the communication strategy and program launching event.
  • Elaboration of the project identification and selection guideline, on the basis of the initial setup as laid down in the Programme Operational Manual.
  • Preparation of Basin monitoring strategy and stepping up IWRM data collection in cooperation with relevant institutions in the Partner States and development the IWRM data community.
  • Developing the Regional Partnership strategy.
  • Promoting and facilitating the identification, prioritization, and preparation of “bankable” IWRM infrastructure investment opportunities with existing and new project proponents.


It is recommended to support the above activities by a consultant’s team that should be recruited to support LVBC in its transformation to programme based operations.


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