The government of Rwanda is backing efforts to increase and improve water supply as it conduct water week from 16th to 20th March and celebrate the World Water day on 22nd March 2015. This year’s global theme is “water and sustainable development”.
Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio- economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of human population.
Water is a finite and irreplaceable resource that is fundamental to the human wellbeing. It is only renewable if well managed. Today more than 1.7 billion people live in river basins where depletion through use exceeds natural recharge, a trend that will see two-thirds of the world’s population living in water stressed countries by 2025.
Water supply Trend
In the Rwandan context, water resources will help in attaining EDPRS II in which water will be used in all key sectors ranging from agriculture, energy and the country’s population is expected to increase to around 13 million by 2018, the same year is the target for 100% access to clean water.
Currently 75.2% of the population of Rwanda have access to clean water and 74.5% have access to sanitation facilities.
Rwanda has available water estimated 9.5 billion m3per capita which is about a quarter of Africa’s average(UNEP, 2010). Hence, the country is among the least water-endowed African countries. The proposed Government budget for the fiscal year 2015/16 includes allocation for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector which is 2.6 times more than the corresponding allocation for fiscal year 2014/15.
Water sector coordination activities:
According to Jean D’Amour Gatera, Water and Sanitation Sector Working Group Secretariat Coordinator, institutional sector reform has suggested the decentralization of water and sanitation service to the districts level with substantial operational autonomy, while the Ministry of Infrastructure will confine its role to policy formulation and follow-up, oversight as well as evaluation.
Also, Districts will be in charge of water and sanitation service delivery in rural areas while Water and Sanitation Corporation Ltd. (WASAC) will ensure urban water supply and sewerage services. The Secretariat is working on establishing a harmonized financing mechanism, improving knowledge management through better coordination among the sector.
The activities of Japan through JICA have been fruitful in this Sector. JICA has developed a number of water supply facilities and provided technical support for the operation and maintenance, as well as hygiene promotion activities on the ground.
Recently the Government of Japan provided grant aid worth about $9 million (approx. Rwf 6bn and 300m) to support the water supply to 33,000 people in the Eastern Province.
The fund will benefit three sectors in three districts of the Eastern Province, namely Rukira Sector of Ngoma District, Murama Sector of Kayonza District, and Remera Sector of Gatsibo District.
With the first phase completed in March 2008, the grant of $ 6.1 million (Rwf4bn and 200m) involved in constructing piped water supply systems and constructing, rehabilitating hand pumps in Ngoma, Kayonza and Rwamagana districts targeting 43 thousand beneficiaries.
The Second phase completed in July 2013 upon $16 million grant (Rwf11bn and 300m), constructed and renovated seven facilities of piped water supply systems at 11 sectors in Ngoma and Kirehe districts accessing to 55 thousand beneficiaries.
In total, more than 131 thousand people will be benefiting from the entire project. This project has been contributed to improve the safe water access rate in the Easter Province from 57.7% in 2006 to 66.6% in 2011.
Beyond those interventions, Japan’s cooperation has been extended to the policy development and sector coordination to improve the performance as a common objective for all sector stakeholders.
From November 2013, Japan has been honored to take the role of co-chair of the Water and Sanitation Sector Working Group.
As co-chair, Japan is committed first, to realize more organized Sector coordination with an operational secretariat, second, to promote the effective monitoring and evaluation of the progress of the Sector, third, to strengthen the resource mobilization to achieve the sector goals.
JICA Representative Message
This year 2015 is very special globally, because it is the target year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Commendably, Rwanda’s efforts have helped to reach the MDGs’ target on sanitation. The accessibility to sanitation has increased from 47% in 2000 to 73% in 2012.
However, last year we struggled to increase the access to safe water. This year is a challenging year to revamp the progress and secure “sustainability”.
Furthermore, thanks to the strong commitment of Ministry of Infrastructure, in the Sector Working Group of Water and Sanitation, all the stakeholders, players and Development Partners have been getting closer to work together and now get ready to move further in a same line. As the lead donor and co-chair, it is a great pleasure for Japan to have supported to build a better coordination in the Water and Sanitation coordination during the past year.
I’m very pleased to say how Japan is playing an important role in the water and sanitation sector. Japan has hosted series of conference together with African countries named Tokyo International Conference on African Development, so called “TICAD”, in every five years. With regard to the water supply, last TICAD V held in 2013 has committed to provide 10 million people with access to safe water in Africa.
Finally, I am reminding an important thing that safe water protects children from diseases like diarrhea. It means that safe water supply build a future of Rwanda. I would like to call upon the community people and the local government to strengthen daily operation and management of water supply, with being encouraged by these mobilizations.
This speech was delivered by JICA Chief Representative Takahiro Moriya on WWD celebrated in Rulindo District on 20th March 2015.