Rwanda has signed a grant agreement worth $22.3 million (approx.rwf24 billion) with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aimed to address issues of water shortage and leakages in different parts of the country. The agreement signed on December 6, will finance a project set to contribute to a stable water supply by optimizing water pressures and reduction of leakage occurrences as a continuation of the ongoing Nzove-Ntora principle water supply pipeline laying. This, according to officials, will involve constructing and replacing water supply facilities in the North-Central Kigali area, targeting a population of approximately 175,000 by 2030, specifically in Gisozi, Kagugu, Gacuriro, and Nyarutarama Sectors. The project is expected to complete in April 2026. Gisele Umuhumuza, the acting CEO of Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), noted that the selection of areas of implementation was based on the current water demand that is overwhelming existing facilities, hence, the need for the project. “When we look at the pace at which the real estate sector is expanding and other infrastructure projects, it requires us to rehabilitate our distribution networks and reduce losses as we increase the amount of water supply,” she said. Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic planning, said “Water is a precious resource that supports human socio-economic development. As elaborated in our National Strategy for Transformation, Government attaches great importance to the availability and provision of quality, reliable and affordable water to Rwandans.” Rwanda has a target to achieve universal access to water by 2024, which means 100 percent population coverage. However, statistics show that as per 500 meters indicator, water coverage in rural areas stands at 56 percent and at 72 percent in Kigali per 200 meters indicator. Umuhumuza disclosed that there are about seven water treatment plants that are going to be built in rural areas in Ngororero, Igihira, Mwoya, Muhazi, and Ngoma in Nyagatare District. “The water treatment plants will increase the capacity to 180,000 cubic meters per day. This will enable us to increase at least 20 percent to our current position in achieving universal access to water,” she added. Imai Masahiro, Ambassador of Japan in Rwanda said: “It is the sincere hope of the government and the people of Japan that this grant assistance will contribute to improving public health and living conditions of citizens in North-Central Kigali, and be used in an efficient and effective manner.” The project works will include construction of distribution networks (64 km) and service connections (70 km), pressure-breaking equipment, elevated water reservoir tank of 500 cubic meters at Kagugu, and a groundwater reservoir of 1000 cubic meters at Batsinda. It will also help to improve service at a household level and create additional water supply amount for new customers. Rwanda and Japan enjoy 60 years of partnership across various sectors such as infrastructure, education, water, energy, and transport, among others.