Water sub sector of Burundi

Burundi’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector endured years of destruction brought on by sabotage and neglect during the civil war and its aftermath.

As Burundi continues to recover, new challenges are emerging as the WSS sector moves from reconstruction to development. Drinking water and sanitation coverage declined as many of Burundi’s urban centers, and particularly peri-urban areas of Bujumbura, experienced rapid growth stemming from the return of exiled and internally displaced peoples.

Burundi is close to meeting its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for improved drinking water access but is not likely to reach the MDG for improved sanitation by 2015. However, the country has made notable progress in sanitation, with 1.2 million people gaining access to improved sanitation since 1990.

Burundi’s commitments include:

  • By 2015, the Government intends to supply drinking water and basic sanitation to at least additional 1,320,000 and 2,100,000 inhabitants respectively.
  • Prioritise water and sanitation on the same footing as health and education in its dialogue with donors, in national development plans, in poverty reduction strategy papers, and in sectoral strategies in other areas.
  • Increase internal financing of access to drinking water and sanitation by creating specific budget lines for sanitation and hygiene amounting to 0.5% of GDP, in accordance with the eThekwini Declaration (2008).
  • Strengthen the monitoring at national level of progress towards the national targets and the targets defined by the MDGs, for use in planning and the establishment of budgets.
  • In 2000, Burundi adopted Law No. 1/014, which sets out a framework to support private sector engagement in the provision of drinking water and energy, including a regulatory body and development fund.


Burundi has a Strategic Framework for Combating Poverty, 2nd Generation (CSLPII) 2012-2016 in which the Government has directed its actions towards the adoption of the National Water Strategy, which aims to facilitate the implementation of the National Water Policy. The Framework also aims to develop a better information and monitoring system to track progress in the water and sanitation sector.

Several national institutions, including nine government ministries, are involved in the management of water resources.

The Ministry of Water, Energy and Mines (MWEM)

The Ministry of Water, Energy and Mines (MWEM), through its Directorate General for Water and Energy (DGEE), is responsible for leading the overall policy formulation and administrative functions of the central government as they relate to the WSS sector.

The Directorate of Water Resources (DRH)

The Directorate of Water Resources (DRH) within DGEE is responsible for developing strategies for sustainable development of the country’s water resources, developing and maintaining the country’s National Water Master Plan, and maintaining the water tariff policy for rural and urban areas.

Directorate General of Rural Water and Electricity (DGHER)

In the rural areas the Directorate General of Rural Water and Electricity (DGHER) oversees and coordinates drinking water and sanitation.

The Water and Electric Authority (REGIDESO)

The Water and Electric Authority (REGIDESO), an autonomous public utility operating under the supervision of MWEM, and 34 Communal Water Authorities (RCEs) undertake actual service provision.

REGIDESO is responsible for catchment, treatment, and distribution of drinking water in urban areas while RCEs supply drinking water to the rural areas.

Municipal Engineering Services (SETEMU)

Municipal Engineering Services (SETEMU) is responsible for sewerage and wastewater treatment services but currently Bujumbura is the only city being serviced.4

The Government of Burundi (GOB) has been working to reform WSS institutions in order to extend service, improve quality, and improve financial sustainability.

Water sector of Burundi has been summarized to include the following

Burundi’s water supply and sanitation (WSS)
Investment opportunities
Challenges in water sector

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