Kigali Water Network Project has begun bearing fruits in addressing water shortage in the City of Kigali and peri-urban areas. The project consists of the construction, rehabilitation, upgrading, and extension of over 600km water supply network. It was implemented by WASAC since 2019 with Rwf62 billion loan from African Development Bank (AFDB). According to Xavier Rwibasira, Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) Coordinator at Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), before the project interventions, some areas could face water shortage for four consecutive days, and with the project interventions, water is currently available on a regular basis. “Only 16 km out of more than 600 km water supply system have not yet been completed and the works will be complete at the end of June this year,” he said. To improve the network efficiency, the project interventions include the replacement of old pipes to reduce non-revenue water, replacement of small distribution pipes, increase of storage capacity and construction of pressure break tanks, and extension of the network in new development areas. In 2021, the beneficiaries who used to face regular water shortages began to have access to clean water after two years of the project, Rwibasira said. Approximately 398,300 people will have access to clean water in Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Kicukiro districts of Kigali City, Runda and Rugalika areas of Kamonyi District in Southern province, Bugesera District in Eastern Province, Muyumbu and Nyakariro of Rwamagana District in Eastern Province and, Shyorongi of Rulindo District in Northern Province. “The project constructed 47 water reservoirs. The network sources water from Kanzenze water treatment plant with 40,000 cubic metres per day of which 30,000 cubic metres is supplied to Kigali and its peri-urban areas while 10,000 cubic metres is supplied to Bugesera district,” he said. Seven pumping stations were also installed, and the constructed water reservoirs have the capacity to store 86, 250 cubic metres. Some of the areas that were facing persistent water shortages in Kigali include Kanombe, Busanza, Nduba, and others. The areas were experiencing water rationing-a temporary suspension of water supply but this has reduced as they get clean water on a regular basis while those with reservoirs also store it. A direct pipeline connecting the 5, 000 m3 main reservoir of Bugesera (Bidudu) to the New Bugesera International Airport is also expected. Rwibasira said that in this project, 21,000 old water meters are being replaced with new ones while 1,400 vulnerable households will get water connections free of charge. Beneficiaries are grateful for the project Claudine Yankurije, a resident of Kabeza village, Kanzenze, cell, Ntarama sector of Bugesera district, said that before having a water supply system, they used to walk a long distance to buy clean water from Kigali. “It required to pay Rwf400 per jerrycan. We used to send children to fetch unclean water from wetlands and this would affect class attendance and their hygiene. Today people have taps in their homes and others use public water taps at only Rwf20 per jerrycan. Hygiene has drastically improved and we are hopeful that waterborne diseases will decrease,” she noted. Emmanuel Rwamigabo, a resident of Gasanze cell, Nduba sector in Gasabo District said that due to water shortage, residents were using unclean water from valleys. “There were school dropouts for some children because they used to spend a long time seeking water. Others would fight for clean water where it was available in other areas. The cost of one jerrycan of clean water was over Rwf400. All these issues have been addressed. We have had clean water since December last year,” he said. He said that following the availability of water, idle plots of land are being developed in Gasanze. “I made the decision to build my storied-residential when we got water in Gasanze. The water is always available except when there is a pipeline broken,” he noted. Janvier Niyibizi, another resident from Nduba sector said that they used to walk 40-minute distances to reach the spring of water saying it could take over four hours to get it due to long queues. “We had to wake up at 02:00 am to go to the spring and get water at 06:30 am. Those who were not able to spend such time had to pay Rwf400 per jerrycan. We have got public water taps buying one jerrycan at Rwf20 and people are using their time in other income-generating activities,” he said. Agnes Mutimundengera, another resident in Kigali, invested in operating a public water tap. “The public water taps became a business opportunity for people. Rwf20 per jerrycan is affordable for households,” he said. Ernestine Benegusenga, the Coordinator of Agasharu village, in Gatunga cell, Nduba sector in Gasabo District added that many residents had shunned away from residing in the area due to water scarcity. “There is a development boom in the sector, thanks to the water supply system. We have committed to wisely using water considering the way it is improving our lives,” she said.