United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Protection of Water Catchments in the Buea Municipality


    Shortage in drinking water supply has become a major outcry in the Buea Municipality with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. Such scarcity has been attributed to climate change but human activities have evidently worsened the situation through intensive degradation of water catchment areas due to unsustainable agricultural practices and the construction of residences. Water shortage then causes health problems, hampers sustainable development efforts, slow down children's ability to education as most often they go late to school or absent from school because they go around fetching water for household use and consumes women's time for economic activities.


    The purpose of the project was to encourage communities to protect forest and woodland areas and plant trees around water catchments areas in order to stabilize climate and to improve on the water table within the Buea Municipality. • To identify and document statistics of 10 degraded water catchments • To establish 10 tree nurseries that supply 21 catchments; • To Plant 5,000 trees in degraded portions of the water catchments; • To train 50 Water Catchment Managers/Nurseries Attendances and Water Users Management • To increase awareness on the importance on why and how to manage water catchments areas in the Buea Municipality, including some parts of Tiko and Limbe Municipalities • To replace Eucalyptus in watershed areas with environmentally friendly trees • To plant 5,000 trees planted in protected catchment areas • To reduce the incidents of water borne diseases • To increase water table level and access to regular portable water. Water also has its part to play in the other SDGs; we hear that water is connected to them all. This may be so, and it is a point that does strengthen our message as to the essential value of water, but it should not become a distraction or be overplayed. In the case of some SDGs, the water connection may be on a par with other factors or be overshadowed by other drivers and policy areas.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    This project was tailored to support the SDGs because its primary objective was to improve on the water supply in the Buea Municipality, improve on the poverty situation of the beneficiary communities because most of them are farmers who depend on agriculture, to improve on the well-being of the beneficiary communities by ensuring the flow of safe drinking water from the water sources, to involve more women in the implementation process, to reduce climate change and create strategic partnerships with other stakeholders to create sustainable cities and communities to achieve 2030 Agenda.

    Implementation methodologies

    Meetings were held with project team to select the beneficiary communities together with other stakeholders involved in the project. Also, project team building sessions were held with the identified resource persons. Feasibility studies were carried out in the identified water catchments. Capacity building sessions were held to train Community Water Management Committees on how to manage and conserve these catchments. The water catchments were mapped and equipments and tools to cater for them were donated. Over 5000 Trees (conservation and economic species) were planted to curb climate change and deforestation and we worked closely with the local authorities to stop the encroachment of human activities within the catchments. These human activities was a source of pollution to water sources thereby reducing the water quality that resulted to poor health. The beneficiary communities were educated on agroforestry systems and income generating activities to reduce poverty and hunger. Within this project, women were involved in the implementation process. The Buea Municipal Council and sixty communities were involved in the project that created a strong partnership between the council, communities and civil society organisations to ensure sustainability.


    The long term effects of the project were to ensure resilient communities on the catchment forests as a source of income to boost water management activities. Another long term effect was to ensure the regular and abundance flow of water to serve the communities without shortages. The impact of the project was to solve the problem of water scarcity caused by inadequate flow of water. Established forest at the water catchments was to ensure stability of water table and the water committee to gain capacity to manage water effectively. • Tree Nursery equipment/materials were provided to communities • Women participated in all aspect of the project implementation, especially during the meetings and training programmes. • 60 traditional authorities were actively involved in the project implementation. • A network of Community Water Management Committees has been created. • Agroforestry system introduced around water catchments areas • Increased awareness on the importance on why and how to manage water catchments areas in the Buea Municipality, including some parts of Tiko and Limbe Muncipalities • Eucalyptus in watershed areas are replaced with environmentally friendly trees • Statistics on 10 water catchment areas collected • 5,000 trees planted in protected catchment areas • 10 Water Catchment Management Committees created and trained. • 10 catchments protected and conserved • Water borne diseases reduced by 10% • Water table level and access to regular portable water improved.

    Factors and Constraints

    • Inter-community Disagreement and non participation in project activities: Disputes among communities concerning management of catchments and responsibilities affected our work in the field. • Weather Condition: The rain retarded some of our planned activities. • Tree Planting: We could not plant trees in all the catchments because of the targeted tree species of seeds/seedlings were not available at the time we needed them. • Human activities in Water Catchment areas: Many communities are ignorant about the laws that govern natural resources, especially water and would not want to let go the smallest part of their land for the protection of this precious resource.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Some community members were consulted before the development of this project and it was implemented through a participatory approach. Active involvement of community members in the design and implementation of project was fully considered. The focus on project ownership when the project ended added to the reasons why the community was involved at the design and implementation levels. Capacity building, regular technical follow-up and field monitoring supported local water users committees in providing additional skills for forest and water management. In a long-term, the restored forest in catchment area provided environmental services with added income to the water users committees for efficient water management. Some of these services included regular flow of water, fruits, fibre, medicinal processing and beekeeping among other non-timber and timber forest products. SUDEVIN Cameroon as the implementing institution became more recognized as well as visible in the water catchment protection sector. Successful implementation will generate replication in other parts of Cameroon by other civil society organizations base on sharing of lessons learned from the project. Four other Councils indicated their interest through invitations to see how they could partner with SUDEVIN to replicate the project to their municipality.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Availability and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is fundamental to fighting the virus. COVID-19 will not be stopped without access to safe water for people living in vulnerability. The impacts of COVID-19 could be considerably higher on urban dwellers who don’t have access to clean water. Meanwhile, this could improve when there is regular flow of water in the available public stand taps and home connections.

    Contact Name
    Sustainable Development Initiatives (SUDEVIN) Cameroon
    Geographical coverage
    01 April 2015 (start date)
    31 March 2016 (date of completion)
    Contact Information

    Lyonga, General Coordinator