A new motorised water supply system, worth Rwf932.7 million, was inaugurated on Tuesday in Rulindo District, bringing relief to residents who had to travel long distances to get clean water.
The launch is part of national water week activities ahead of World Water Day on March 22.
Construction of the 40 kilometre system started in November 2015 and was done by Geographic Technology System Ltd.
It will serve 28,469 people in three sectors of Murambi, Masoro and Cyinzuzi, including 10 schools, and two health centres, according to officials.
Besides the pumping stations, 64 community taps and 39 water tanks were built with capacity of 265 cubic meters.
“We could spend two hours moving down the valley to fetch dirty water. It is a great relief now that we can get water a few metres away from our homes,” Murambi Sector residents, Marie Vestine Mukakomite and Esther Yesuwahabaye, said.
Yesuwahabaye added that she had to wake up early to fetch water before going to school.
‘‘It was tiresome and I could reach at school late most times,’’ she said.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Emmanuel Kayiranga the mayor of Rulindo District said the new water system increased water access by 20 per cent.
Mutagata motorised water system is part of ‘Rulindo challenge programme’ initiated and funded by the district, Ministry of Infrastructure, and international NGOs since 2010.
It targets to reach 100 per cent access to safe drinking water for 494 villages in 17 sectors, 100 schools and 24 health centres by 2018.
According to Perpetue Kamuyumbu, the representative of Water for People NGO, they provided 55 per cent of hardware costs of the project, while 30 per cent was provided by Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) and 15 per cent by the district.
The project has also developed a customer feedback platform which started operations in January, where citizens can call or send messages on line (1765) about water services such as water outage, and systems damage.
Marie Josee Mukanyamwasa, in charge of rural water supply at WASAC, called for sustainable maintenance of the systems in which people must play their role.
“Sometime back water infrastructure could be damaged and remain non-operational within a short time after inauguration. But, we have taken measures to ensure sustainable maintenance and professional management by training technicians while working with partners,” she said.
She noted that district water boards have been established at district levels to monitor water infrastructure and services.
She added that currently water access in the country is 84-77 per cent in rural areas and 89 per cent in urban areas.
The Governor of the Northern Province, Jean Claude Musabyimana said the ‘challenge programme’ in Rulindo will soon be replicated to other districts.
“In the past, we conducted an assessment that revealed that Rulindo District lagged behind in access to water which triggered establishment of ‘Rulindo challenge programme’ to solve the issue. The initiative has made it possible to increase access to 94 per cent. It will soon be replicated in Gicumbi and Burera districts and elsewhere so that we meet 100 per cent target of access to safe water under vision 2020,” he said.
The Governor called for protection of water sources, sustainable land use by controlling erosion, tree planting in order to protect sources from where water supply systems are developed.