The Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) is targeting a three year period to be able to complete major projects that will deal with persistent water shortage, James Sano has said.
Addressing the media at WASAC headquarters in Kigali, yesterday, Sano, the chief executive, said, compared to 2000 when not even 50 per cent of the country’s population had access to water, there has been progress worth celebrating over the last 16 years.
“For every 500 metres in rural areas, 85 per cent of the population has access to water. The numbers are better in urban areas where 90 per cent of the population can access clean water. The policy is in fact about to change, because Sustainable Development Goals require a shift from how many people have access per metre to how many can access it in their homes,” he said.
On the persistent water shortage that has resulted in rationing over the last two years, Sano said the initial problem was little water supply and the low capacity of the infrastructure.
He said the infrastructure were originally designed to cater for 350,000 people, but that the city now has more than 1.2 million people.
So far, Kigali alone is supplied with 90,000 cubic metres of water against the target of 120,000 cubic metres, he added.
A project, launched in March last year, with capacity of more than 25,000 cubic metres kicked off the journey to deal with the water issue in Kigali.
“Our capacity in Kigali at the time was still at 65,000 cubic metres. We were meant to work on supplying water from the new project in phases so in a short time, we managed to generate additional 25,000 cubic metres and are working toward increasing it to 40,000 cubic metres. The infrastructure to make that possible, which includes pumps, filtering units and many others, is already here. We are on track,” he said.
Additionally, a pipeline and a pump station distributing water from Nzove to another pump station at Mt Kigali with the capacity of 2000 cubic metres is being constructed and later, a water distribution reservoir with the capacity of 5000 cubic metres, which will be the second largest, the WASAC chief executive said.
“What we are doing is increasing the production and transportation of water to strategic places and using gravity to distribute it. We are planning to construct another water project with the capacity of 5000 cubic metres at Rebero so that we can use one pipe from Nyanza, through Kicukiro to Busanza all which have water issues. The Government has already secured the funds necessary for all these projects,” he said.
Water rationing will continue
Sano said that although some places still had water problems, it was impossible for anyone to be without water for more than 48 hours.
“Places like Kimisagara, Nyamirambo, Rebero and Gatsata used to be without water for even a year but things have greatly improved in those areas. Rationing is still ongoing in some areas in Kicukiro, Busanza and others but what we need to improve is how the rationing is done,” he said.
Addressing the issue of corruption, which has dogged the institution for years, Sano admitted that he was aware of it and had put measures in place to deal with it.
For instance, he warned those who pay cash for a quick problem fix to be aware that they were either paying non-WASAC staff or were paying a bribe.
“All our employees are now in uniform and have badges. Whoever approaches you without those two is not our employee. No client should pay a WASAC employee for a service and none of our services is paid for in cash since every payment must go through the bank,” he said.
In all the 30 districts, WASAC has completed some water projects and is working on others. For instance, in Kayonza town, a new intake and water treatment plant was constructed at Gishari to produce 1800 cubic metres per day.
In Nyanza, a new water treatment plant was constructed at Mpanga and it produces 5000 cubic metres per day. A transmission line from the plant to the new reservoir tank was also constructed.
In Nyagatare, a new intake at Umuvumba River and a water treatment plant near Nyagatare producing 2,300 cubic metres per day was constructed.