Last year, over six million Rwandans – more than 73 percent of the country’s population were estimated to have access to safe drinking water, compared to 71 percent in the previous year.
This is revealed in a joint Ministry of Infrastructure (Mininfra)-African Development Bank (AfDB) report, titled: “Summary Report on Water and Sanitation Joint Sector Review (Fiscal Year 2008).”
The three-page document co-signed by State Minister Dr. Albert Butare and AfDB resident representative Jacob Diko Mukete also points out that 4.3 million – 45 percent – Rwandans have access to hygienic sanitation facilities.
“The impressive coverage rates for WATSAN (water and sanitation) are attributed to rehabilitation and construction of new infrastructure,” states a portion of the report.
Some of thee infrastructure investments mentioned include construction of 651 kilometres of new water supply systems, 70 boreholes, 53 rain water harvesting tanks and 92 public latrines.
The report noted that the country is well on its way to realise its ambitious target – 100 percent coverage of water supply and sanitation called for by Vision 2020.
Also noted is the impact of the Nyabarongo water project, a project to reinforce potable water supply in Kigali city and then projected to conclude by July 2009.
“In 2008, approximately 546,070 additional people had access to safe drinking water while 33,395 had improved access to sanitation.”
The country’s alarming population growth, though not alone, again, resurfaces as a major obstacle. Other pertinent reports indicate that depending on an estimated population swell up of 11.3 million people by the year 2015, who all need access to water and basic sanitation.
It is noted that despite the steady progress being made towards achieving the 100 percent coverage by 2020, Rwanda will need to marshal, on average, a minimum of about USD 32-35 million annually for the rehabilitation and construction of new water and sanitation forms of infrastructures.
The Mininfra-AfDB report also notes that while there is significant growth in access to sanitation, there is a need to separate sanitation from water supply, with the establishment of a separate sub-programme and a budget.
Human resource challenges and, environment degradation are also noted as a threat to the water and sanitation sub-sector.
It is estimated that 884 million people do not have access to clean water and 2.5 billion without adequate sanitation worldwide.
Under the Global End Water Poverty Campaign Sanitation and Water For all, several charity organisations have been putting pressure on G8 countries to pay attention in sanitation and water areas.
Water and sanitation are two key elements without which there can be no sustainable development in health, education and livelihoods, locking people into a cycle of poverty and diseases.