More than 7,700 households in Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu districts are to benefit from 58 boreholes constructed by the Chinese government.
The boreholes were inaugurated on Monday in Nkotsi Sector, Musanze District, in the Northern Province at a ceremony attended by Rwandan and Chinese government officials, local government officials and locals from three districts.
The boreholes were constructed with a Chinese grant worth 10 million Chinese Yuan (about Rwf1.2 billion) signed in 2010.
The project was implemented by China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation on behalf of Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
Musanze received 28 of the boreholes, Nyabihu 17, while Rubavu received 13.
Speaking at the launch, Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Shen Yongxiang reaffirmed China’s readiness to maintain bilateral cooperation with Rwanda.
“Sometimes we call water the source of life, this source of water will be the source of our friendship which will strengthen further and further,” Shen said.
Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister for natural resources, called on districts and residents to ensure proper maintenance of the water infrastructure.
Dr Biruta said the boreholes were constructed after research showed that there was abundant underground water in Northern and Western provinces.
At least 22 local technicians have been trained and equipped to maintain the boreholes in case of breakdown, he said.
The minister also commended the Chinese government for its support which he said supplements government efforts to ensure universal access to potable water.
The beneficiary district officials have been tasked to ensure proper maintenance of the boreholes.
Appolinaire Turikunkiko, a resident of Nkotsi Sector, commended the government for facilitating residents to get access to clean water which he said would help keep water-borne diseases at bay.
“Some of my children suffered from waterborne diseases after taking contaminated water. I believe that this borehole will improve the welfare of my family,” Turikunkiko said.
Clodette Ingabire, another resident, said she used to walk long distances to fetch water from streams.
“Even if this borehole water was not free, I would be willing to pay for it because it is clean and close to my compound,” Ingabire said.