Residents of three sectors in Gatsibo District in Eastern Province have welcomed installation of new clean water sources in the area, saying it has relieved them of acute water shortage.
The clean water project was inaugurated recently and is expected to help some 25,277 residents of Rugarama, Rwimbogo and Gitoki sectors.
The new water plant, that cost over Rwf500 million and is located in Cyampirita, Matunguru Cell, Rugarama Sector, was constructed in partnership with the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) and World Vision – Rwanda and Gatsibo District.
Dinah Kankuyu, a mother of three, said before the construction of the new water facility, they had to walk more than 10 kilometres for clean water.
“It’s been challenging for families. Sometimes I couldn’t afford to prepare meals on time and children could walk long distances whenever we had no money to buy water from vendors,” she said.
Josephat Nsabimana, another resident, said scarcity of water had hit livestock farmers hardest.
Gatsibo deputy mayor in charge of economic development, Theogene Manzi, commended the project.
However, he said, 37 per cent of the district’s population still travel long distances to find clean water.
“It’s a good step that the district has been able to avail clean water to our population of over 63 per cent but we still have a long way to go because 37 per cent of our people don’t have access to clean water,” said Manzi.
He appealed to partners to support the district’s initiative of putting in place a district water board to manage public water taps in the district and avoid rehabilitation expenses.
WASAC soldiers on
According to Marie Josee Mukanyamwasa, the in-charge of rural water supply at WASAC, the institution is currently facing challenges such as water system breakdown, requiring rehabilitation.
She asked residents of Gatsibo to take care of the water infrastructure.
“The water you received came at a cost. You need to cooperate in the management of the water such that the money that would be used to rehabilitate infrastructure is used to extend clean water to other places,” said Mukanyamwasa.
Frank Muhwezi, the World Vision regional manager for Eastern Province, said the organisation is ready to continue partnering with the district to ensure that the residents of the district have good welfare.
“We’re always committed to executing projects that can bring good impact to the people and we will continue wherever need arises,” said Muhwezi.
Last month, the Ministry of Infrastructure launched the ‘National Water Policy and Strategy’, and the ‘National Sanitation Services Policy and Strategy’, both aimed at driving water and sanitation sectors to a new level.
The policies and strategies were approved by Cabinet last December to ensure sustainable, equitable, reliable and affordable access to water and sanitation services to all Rwandans, according to the ministry.
Up to 85 per cent of Rwanda’s population have access to improved water supply, according to the 2013/14 Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey.
The Government plans to achieve 100 per cent service coverage by 2020.