EDITORIAL: Water conservation is key to averting shortages

Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi this week assured the nation that by next year, 100% of the population will have access to clean water. He said the government will invest heavily in water infrastructure to improve supply, especially in areas where there is little or no supply.

Prime MinisterAnastase Murekezi this week assured the nation that by next year, 100% of the population will have access to clean water.

He said the government will invest heavily in water infrastructure to improve supply, especially in areas where there is little or no supply.

Water is a major issue right now. In some Kigali neighbourhoods, water is a dream as the taps dried up ages ago and have turned into rusty fittings.

But this shortage of water has been a blessing to some. Former bicycle taxi operators in Kanombe, a Kigali suburb, have abandoned their passengers and instead adopted the water trade.

It is quite a scene seeing caravans packed with yellow jerry cans full of water snaking up Busanza hill to supply households with the precious commodity. And the service does not come cheap.

So, how does a country endowed with abundant rainfall and water bodies end in that kind of situation when desert countries in the Middle East are able to cope?

How do they manage to have ample water supply yet they receive just a few inches of rainfall a year?

The answer is efficiency and innovative use of the resources. As long as we fail to manage rainwater and let it go to waste, it will still come to haunt us.

For one, we should do away with metallic water pipes that are prone to rust and wear and need frequent replacement, and train more water engineers to keep abreast with the changing water management trends.

Otherwise, as long as we take water conservation as the sole reserve of the drought prone areas of the eastern part of the country, we will have traveled just half the journey.

 

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