More than 16,000 residents near Akagera River in Kigarama and Nyamugari sectors in Kirehe District have been connected to a 22 km long water pipeline that will address Water scarcity challenges and serve communities near Akagera and Rusumo border post who relied on water from Akagera River, officials say. Previously, residents had to walk long distances to access clean water or rely on unclean water from the river. ALSO READ: Water scarcity hits Eastern Province According to Jean Paul Ngendahayo, 46, a resident of Nyankurazo village in the Kigarama Sector of Kirehe District, since his childhood, the only source of water was Akagera River which he said was a challenging issue given that using unclean water from the river affected their health. “My children often fell sick due to use of unclean water from the river. I had embarked on making sure that, before I go to work, there are at least 2 gallons water at home but now that we have clean water, my children will have good health,” he said According to Ngendahayo one of his children studies at Akagera Primary School; the school has also been connected to the water pipeline. The New Times visited the school and spoke to chief cook, Charles Niwe, who said that previously his staff struggled finding clean water for cooking. the Mayor of Kirehe District, Bruno Rangira, said that District partnered in the project including JICA,WaterAid and Ayateke stars, that helped to connect three schools to piped water while water from seven boreholes is now converges in three water reservoirs that pumps water to taps benefiting 16,000 residents, at a cost of more than Rwf 500 million. The mayor said that currently 60 per cent of the population in Kirehe, have access to clean water and highlighted the way forward to address the remaining 40 per cent who do not access this basic right of accessing clean water. “We are soon launching a project with WASAC to set up a water plant that will help communities in Kirehe access water, it is a long journey but with commitments from partners we aim at having all residents access clean water by 2024, we urge residents to make good use of these facilities so that they help them foster hygiene and sanitation, said Rangira.