At least 20,000 households will have access to clean water, thanks to a multimillion water treatment plant that was launched in Nkombo Sector in Rusizi District yesterday.
The Rwf550-million plant will, according to Germaine Kamayirese, the state minister for energy, water and sanitation, help improve sanitation services in Rusizi.
Kamayirese, who was speaking during the launch of the project in Nkombo Rusizi District, yesterday, said access to clean water and sanitation services remains government’s top priority.
“The goal is to achieve 100 per cent access to clean water from the current 85 per cent by 2020 to be able to realise the Government objectives,” she said.
Areas with low access to clean water are prone to waterborne diseases such as cholera, the minister said, stressing that ensuring that all citizens have access to clean water is critical and will help promote sustainable development.
The minister said the Government seeks to improve the quality of life of its population by provision of adequate water and sanitation services by 2020.
James Sano, the chief executive Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), said increasing access to clean water is within the framework of achieving the clean water distribution targets in communities to support inclusive growth.
“We will continue focusing on those areas prone to dry spells and ensure all citizens have access to clean and safe water,” he said.
Previously, access to clean water in Nkombo Island stood below 50 per cent. However, with the new water treatment plant, which produces 720m3 per day, and 24 boreholes, the island’s access to water is expected increase to 90 per cent.
The Nkombo water supply system is currently providing clean water to more 17,500 people and we expect the number to increase, Sano told The New Times.
Overall, Giheke-Gihundwe- Kamembe-Nkanka water supply system is providing water to approximately 80,000 people in five sectors of Rusizi District; Giheking, Kamembe, Gihundwe, Nkanka and Nkunga.
Relief for residents
Sederia Uzamushaka, from Nkombo, said the new water plant will help reduce the long distance citizens used to walk to fetch water, as well as the risk of acquiring waterborne diseases.
In 2004, the World Health Organisation found that investing $1 in water, sanitation and hygiene education would bring health and other benefits of between $3 and $34, depending on the technology used.
Research done for the 2006 UN Human Development Report estimated that the total cost of the current deficit in investment in water and sanitation is $170 billion, which means 2.6 per cent of all developing countries’ GDP.
While it is important to invest in water and sanitation services, it is equally imperative to ensure the sector is well regulated and monitored for desired benefits.
Meanwhile, Government recently earmarked Rwf467.7 billion for water and sanitation under a new policy.
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 over a five-year period.