Water and sanitation are critical components that need to be worked on to ensure they are covered 100 per cent by 2020 if Rwandans are to live a better life, officials have said.
Officials from the Ministry of Infrastruture and those from the City of Kigali were, yesterday, speaking during the national dissemination of Water and Sanitation Policies and their implementation strategies in Kigali.
The total funding of water supply policy implementation strategy is about Rwf337 billion to be used between 2015/16 up to 2020.
In sanitation, the Government plans to use over Rwf130.7 billion in infrastructure investments in a five year period.
The policies, which were drafted by the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), seek to ensure the full coverage for both areas by 2020.
Yesterday’s event was attended by officials from the ministry as well as local leaders from the three urban districts making up the City of Kigali.
According to Aimé Muzora, the director of planning at MININFRA, the new policies, which used to be combined in one in the 2010 revised policy, would ensure efficient implementation.
The bulk investment will be used in infrastructure investment required to achieve 100 per cent service coverage in both rural and urban areas.
Low water coverage
Water service coverage is much lower, standing at only 49 per cent of the population served within 500 metres, according to the fourth Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV4) 2014.
Also, the demographic and health Survey 2014/15, said 49 per cent of households spent 30 minutes or longer to get to the water source and return.
Officials said while 94 per cent of the households had financed and built own public latrines or toilets, quality standards and hygiene remained a challenge.
Sanitation coverage with safe and hygienic environment is estimated in 2015 at 58 per cent and at 72 per cent, including shared toilets.
Muzora said water production is at impressive stage (at over 84 per cent) in coverage but there is still a gap to bridge.
“We have various projects such as Nzove I, which is supplying water now, and Nzove II, which is under construction and will be completed in the near future,” he said.
The lack of collective sewerage system remains a challenge to sanitation and there is need to improve, replace or build about 500,000 improved on site sanitation facilities every year to reach full coverage and improve hygienic behaviour of the population, according to officials.
Spilt for better implementation
While the previous policy of 2010 combined both water and sanitation, the two have been split to ensure smooth and faster implementation, according to the officials.
“We revised this policy after the one we had in 2010 due to various reasons, including the target of achieving 100 per cent of coverage both in water and sanitation,” Muzora said.
He added that there were also various institutional reforms and the international recommendations such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The previous policy combined both water and sanitation but in the revised policy we have split them into two, we have policy and implementation strategy for each, it was realised that with the previous policy more efforts were put in water while sanitation lagged,” Muzora said
“We, therefore, wanted to put a particular emphasis on sanitation for better implementation as it is very critical.”
Muzora noted that the policy also seeks to privatise rural water networks to be managed by private operators, adding that with this whenever a network is damaged it will be maintained faster and will help improve service delivery.
However, the official stressed that there is need for more partnerships to ensure smooth and faster implementation of both policies.
“We all need to pull together for better and smoother implementation of these policies,” he said, calling for public-private partnership to help meet the targets.
Local leaders commit
Local leaders expressed their commitment to help in the implementation.
“The new water and sanitation policies are clear and their implementation concerns all of us, we still have people who are yet to get water in their surroundings and still walk a long distance to fetch water. We are ready to implement this policy and hope it will address this problem,” said Angelique Mukunda, Kicukiro District vice mayor in charge of economic affairs.
“We will also work on the sanitation policy focusing on changing citizens’ mindset while improving infrastructure,” she added.