Rwf530b to fund water, sanitation

When a city water vendor can earn Rwf30,000 in a day, or when another calls a water reservoir from which city dwellers pay to fetch water a ‘cash cow’, then not all is well. For the case of Kigali, authorities are very much aware of the water situation.
City dwellers draw water from a public source. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
City dwellers draw water from a public source. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

When a city water vendor can earn Rwf30,000 in a day, or when another calls a water reservoir from which city dwellers pay to fetch water a ‘cash cow’, then not all is well. For the case of Kigali, authorities are very much aware of the water situation.

Georgette Mbabazi, lives in Kanombe, one of the city suburbs, where she owns a water tank that she calls her “cash cow.”

She makes a living from selling water to her entire neighbourhood at a cost of Rwf100 per 20-litre jerrycan. On a good day, she says, she can make about Rwf30,000.

Mbabazi’s business is proof that there is still much need for clean water even in the capital where, in areas such as Kanombe, homes could go for three or four days without water.

Mbabazi said whenever her tank is empty, people look at her with frustration.

“I don’t usually run out of water but when I do, it is a big problem my neighbours are frustrated. People rely much on this water,” she said.

For Rwandans to get full access to water and sanitation, government, development partners and the private sector have to invest whooping Rwf531 billion over the next five years.

The statistics

By July, this year, 74.2 per cent Rwandans had access to clean water, while 74.6 per cent have access to sanitation services.

Rwanda ranks among the first African countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation and surpassed it.

MDG 7 calls for reduction by half  the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015

EWSA’s Deputy Director-General for Water and Sanitation James Sano said for someone to be considered to have access to water, they should be living within 500 metres of an improved water source in rural area, and 200 metres in urban centres.

The Water and Sanitation Sector Strategic Plan, released last week, quotes the recent integrated household survey, which stipulates that 63.3 per cent of people in rural areas live within 500 metres from a clean water source, while 64.2 per cent of the urban population lives within 200 metres from the clean water source.

On sanitation, EWSA’s strategic plan indicates that the proportion of schools with latrines complying with health norms will rise to 100 per cent, and that the corresponding proportion for rural households will increase from 92.2 per cent to 100 per cent.

New initiatives to be used by water and sanitation sector to achieve such highly ambitious development goals and targets set by the EDPRS 2 will be the use of Ubudehe and Umuganda community approaches in implementation of water and sanitation projects at district level.

Education required

This is expected to strengthen ownership of water infrastructure by the communities.

Of the Rwf531 billion that would be spent on achieving the 100 per cent targets, Rwf1.7 billion will be spent on capacity building only.

Although the figure might appear gross, Sano said for the country to achieve its targets there is need to roll out advanced technologies, salaries and costs of operation for bigger projects. 

“The Kigali Centralised Sewerage System will cost Euro 70 million (abotu Rwf64 billion), a big chuck of this money will be drawn from the capacity building allocation since we will need to import expertise to lay out this system,” said Sano.

Rwanda today faces a major challenge of sewage management, but Sano said studies have been done on establishing septic sewage treatment plants in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Nyanza districts that would be accessed by neighboring districts.

“We expect to raise the funds from development partners, like the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank, and the central government. With these initiatives, we could easily achieve the 100 per cent target in sanitation,” he said.

 Private sector involvement

Under the EDPRS 2, government has put much emphasis on joint financing of project and it is in this context that EWSA expects 42 per cent of all the funds for sanitation and water to come from private sector.

Two mega water projects, including the one in Mutobo (Northern Province) and another in Kanzenze (Bugesera District) are in the procurement process and expected to cost about Rwf250 billion.

The Mutobo project involves piping water from Mutobo to Kigali. The project has the capacity to produce water that could supply the entire City of Kigali and the neighbouring districts.

The Mutobo water treatment plant that was first installed in 1988 currently processes 2,162 cubic litres of water, but has a daily capacity of 12,500 cubic litres.

In a related development, EWSA has purchased four mobile water treatment plants to benefit Nyagatare, Rwamagana, Kayonza, Nyanza, Ruhango and Bugesera districts.

“The mobile treatment plants will increase the amount of water consumed in the six districts from 4000 cubic meters to 8000 cubic meters per day,” Sano said.

“However, we have districts that have reached a significant water coverage; for instance, Kicukiro District has 100 per cent coverage and now working on hitting the 100 per cent accessibility,” said Sano.

 

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