The Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) has moved closer to forming a partnership with the private sector in the production and supply of water in Kigali City.
Already, the utility agency has shortlisted three foreign companies in the ongoing tender process from which it will choose one firm that will manage the government’s Bulk Water project to supply the city with 40,000 cubic metres of water daily. Currently, Kigali needs 110,000 cubic metres of water daily, yet 70,000 cubic metres is supplied, according to EWSA.
The utility body did not reveal the names of the companies citing professional reasons.
However, James Sano, the EWSA deputy director general in charge of water and sanitation, said the firms will soon be issued with ‘request for proposal’ to select one of them. The winning company will then form a joint partnership with the government under the Bulk Water Project, he added.
Under the project, the private investor will construct, finance, operate and maintain new water treatment facilities, together with forwarding infrastructure to two new reservoirs in order to deliver up to 40,000 cubic metres of water daily.
“Maintenance and operation of the water distribution network, as well as sale of water to end users will remain the role of EWSA, and will not be part of the project,” Sano said.
“The project will be beneficial, especially in areas that have been facing water shortages.”
The winning company will be expected to sign a concession of at least 25 years to construct water treatment plants after which, they will be transferred to the government.
“It is a win-win situation for us. Resources are never adequate, so at least the private sector will come on board to invest in an area that has been exclusively managed by the government,” he said. He added that it would take between six and eight months to announce the eventual winner.
“One water treatment plant will be constructed in Kagarama sector, Nyanza District and another will be on Juru Hill in Bugesera District, which will supply to the respective districts and Kigali,” Sano said.
The population in the city has significantly increased from about 765,000 to 1.2 million people in the last 10 years. According to EWSA, about 30 per cent of the population living in the city experiences intermittent water supply, especially in the annual dry spells.
City of Kigali is currently supplied by three main treatment plants. Nzove plant on Nyabarongo River is the largest supplier, pumping 26,000 cubic meters a day, the Kimisagara plant supplies 23,000 cubic meters, while the Karenge in Bugesera supplies 14,000 cubic meters daily.
Water shortage has been at its peak in the recent dry spell, with many areas in Kigali affected, including Gikondo, Kicukiro, Samuduha, Kimisange, Busanza, Remera, Nyamirambo, Kanombe and Kabeza.