Senators challenge districts on access to clean water

Lawmakers on Senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance have urged district leaders to look at ways of ensuring universal access to potable water.
Mayor Rajab Mbonyumuvunyi (right) during the meeting with the senators in Rwamagana District. J.D. Nsabimana.
Mayor Rajab Mbonyumuvunyi (right) during the meeting with the senators in Rwamagana District. J.D. Nsabimana.

Lawmakers on Senatorial Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance have urged district leaders to look at ways of ensuring universal access to potable water.

The lawmakers, led by Célestin Sebuhoro, the vice president of the committee, were in Rwamagana District this week to assess clean water distribution in the area.

In Rwamagana, only 56 per cent of the population is able to access clean water within a distance of 500 metres from their homes.

Water in the district is mainly tapped from Muhazi and Mugesera lakes by Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC).

Today, lakes and other water sources in the area produce 8,803 cubic metres of water in both rural and trading centres a day, while the district needs 14,230 cubic metres in urban areas and 30, 337 cubic metres in rural areas to achieve 100 per cent water access.

Senator Sebuhoro said that during their assessment they realised there were differences between district officials’ statistics and the reality on the ground.

“There are many water pipes but not all of them are functional. So, it is our responsibility to discover the real numbers on which to base recommendations,” said Sebuhoro.

“We, therefore, recommend the districts to base on the real numbers during their planning and not the ‘imaginary ones,” he warned.

Sebuhoro said that the assessment has a significant impact because it awakens districts, WASAC officials, other water distributing companies, and other stakeholders, to plan and carry out self-assessment of their water management strategies.

“We hope that it will have an impact, but more importantly, we are still carrying out the evaluation in various districts before compiling a report to be tabled in the Senate,” he said.

The committee has so far finished its assessment in Southern Province districts, six of seven districts in Eastern Province, and four of five districts in Northern Province.

All Rwandans are set to have access to potable water under the current seven-year government programme.

Sebuhoro noted that provision of clean water is key to hygiene, adding that access to clean water is a right.

Rwamagana District Mayor Rajab Mbonyumuvunyi said the district’s target on universal access to clean water will be achieved by 2024.

“The problem we had was capacity, but now networks are being worked on. We have increased our capacity to supply more water. The first phase will be completed by the end of this fiscal year,” he said.

He added that WASAC is now installing more and bigger water pipes to reach all sectors of the district.

“In the previous two years, we had construction of roads in town as a priority, but in the coming two years, we are prioritising bigger projects to distribute water and electricity. So we will meet the target of 2024,” he said.

Sometimes, various trading centres access water once in two days a week but the district officials said their plan is to completely address this.

“We will not tire until everyone has access to clean water,” said Mbonyumuvunyi.

Senator Chrisologue Karangwa stressed the need for water purity.

He explained, “Though one may have enough quantity of water, it is not enough, you can have more of it but with more troubles due to the lack of purity.”

Government’s target is for every Rwandan to have access to pure water in their homes, or at least access it in 200 meters in urban areas, and not beyond 500 meters in rural areas, by 2024.

“Everyone needs to understand the value of this element, water is life. It was in the 2010-2017 Government goals that access to water would be 100 per cent, it was not possible. But now in 2017-2024 goals, it is achievable,” said Senator Evariste Bizimana.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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