The Minister for Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, has officially launched the construction of Migera water supply system in Kayonza District as part of celebrations to mark this year’s World Water Day.
The project, expected to provide safe water to about 30,000 residents of Mwiri and Rwinkwavu sectors, was launched on Wednesday.
Speaking at the launch, Kamanzi urged residents to use the water to improve their living conditions.
“Use this water for both domestic purposes and irrigation so that you can increase production,” the minister said.
He acknowledged that there is a challenge of access to safe and clean water in the district which has led to diverse effects on the residents such as poor sanitation and water-related infections. He urged them to always boil water before use.
Kamanzi advised the residents to harvest water during the rainy season for use during the dry season.
“During the dry season, the water levels are low. I, therefore, call upon all households, schools, hospitals and other public institutions to have tanks where they can store rain water,” he said.
The $2.4 million (about Rwf 1.6 billion) project is part of Usaid’s Rwanda Integrated Water Security Programme which aims at improving water quantity and quality.
“The Migera water system is a good example of how Usaid seeks to promote projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Usaid mission director, Peter Malnak.
“The system will help address the critical gap in access to clean water in the area which will improve hygiene and nutrition, reduce disease, increase agricultural production as well as allow community members to live healthier, more productive lives,” he said.
The Governor for Eastern province, Odette Uwamariya, lauded Usaid and other development partners for their efforts in helping to address the water problem in the region.
“The Eastern Province faces a problem of water shortage, especially in Gatsibo, Bugesera and Kayonza districts but the government’s target is to make water accessible to all citizens,” Uwamariya said.
She said that before the intervention of development partners, access to clean water in the province was less than 40 per cent but has now increased to 60 per cent.
The governor urged the contractors to ensure quality work.
Alphosine Kampire, a mother of four and resident of Gahini, is optimistic that she will have access to clean water in the near future.
“We have only one public water tap used by over 200 households. We have always had no alternative but to fetch and use dirty water from streams. My children, especially those below five years, are always in hospital due to waterborne infections. But all this will become history once the new water supply system is completed,” she said.
The Migera project has several components which include construction of a new water supply system, Migera 111 and the rehabilitation and extension of Migera 1, Migera 11 and the Rwazanas water supply systems.
The system uses water from several springs and is mainly gravity operated. The construction works started in November 2013 and are expected to be complete by the end of February 2015.